About 86% of La Cañada High School parents would recommend the school to others, and 89% of elementary school parents called their child's campus a caring and supportive environment, according to recent findings of an annual districtwide survey.

But only 21% of La Cañada Unified teachers said morale at their school was high, while the percentage of faculty members who said they enjoyed their jobs fell to 76%, a 12-point drop from last year's results.

Supt. Wendy Sinnette relayed highlights from the 2013-14 annual district survey to board members Tuesday, sharing causes for celebration as well as concern.

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"When the community buzz is solid, and people would recommend the school, that's (good)," Sinnette said of the first statistic.

Now in its third year, the annual survey gathered feedback from students in grades 4 through 12 and parents of all grade levels, as well as the district's certificated and classified staff members.

Respondents were asked about several aspects of their school and the district, from technology and administration to campus maintenance and interaction with school staff. Their answers provided insight into what's working and what's not.

For example, among parents of children in transitional kindergarten through sixth grades, 90% said they felt their school was a safe place, while 92% said they had opportunities for involvement. But among parents in grades 7 through 12, only 65% said their children had at least one close relationship with an adult at the school.

Sinnette said that's a stat that needs changing.

"We have to change the climate, and we have to change the culture," she said. "Kids at the school site have to know there's an adult who cares about them."

The superintendent told the board the survey responses played a significant role in informing her own goals as well as development of the district's Local Control Accountability Plan, which prioritizes where state funding should be spent.

Teachers and school administrators may also use survey data to help plan school initiatives, inform professional practices and determine where improvements might be made to programs or the overall school culture.

Board President Ellen Multari said now that the district has three years of survey information, she'd like to consider setting benchmarks to guide future improvement efforts.

"This will give us some idea for giving us a way to assess how we're doing," she said.

Board Vice President Andrew Blumenfeld said he appreciated seeing the trajectory of growth over the years, adding that he was pleased to see there were no serious declines in satisfaction among the parent responses. He asked how the survey information might be communicated to teachers.

Sinnette said it would be presented when teachers met with administrators to set their goals for the year and would be part of an ongoing dialogue. Anais Wenn, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said the information could also play a role in professional development.

"I think that really demonstrates how helpful and meaningful the survey data is," Sinnette replied.

Highlights of the annual survey can be found online at lcusd.net.