LCTI: PUSD Energy and Sustainability Program Needs Assessment
Clean Mobility Options Voucher Pilot Program
Community Transportation Needs Assessment
Porterville Unified School District | PUSD Energy and Sustainability Program Needs Assessment
December 2020 – September 2021
For the needs assessment effort, Porterville Unified School District (PUSD) conducted an initial broad online survey of community members. The project team collected in depth data and input from school faculty; elementary, middle and high school students; school caregivers’ and parents through community forums, focus groups, surveys (digital/online questionnaire and personal interviews), and social media tools. PUSD engaged Climate Action Pathways for Schools (CAPS) to support its community engagement plan. CAPS worked with student interns to develop and implement communication tools and materials that support efforts to engage, inform, and educate community members. Student engagement is a critical aspect of the project and previous experience facilitating student driven ‘work-based learning’ initiatives have been effective in implementing change at the schools.
To learn more about project implementation, watch this video.
- We had great success with getting responses from students at the middle and high schools. This was in part due to the tremendous support we received from principals and the business office. Principals were able to forward the survey link onto teachers, who also took the survey, then asked their students to complete their version during class or as extra credit.
- We learned that while transportation is one of the district’s largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and pollution and that many identified air pollution as the primary environmental threat facing the Central Valley, when asked to identify which sustainability category they would most like to improve at their school (between: energy, waste, food, water, and transportation) parents, students, and teachers consistently rated transportation last. We believe this points to an opportunity and gap in transportation outreach and education.
- We are learning how to incorporate a high school internship professional development program into the development of sustainability and transportation goals within a school district.
- Though we had good student and teacher survey responses, the parent response rate was less than we hoped. We believe this was in part due to parents being over-surveyed in the spring of 2021 as the district approached moving back to in-person learning. Through this experience, we learned that getting survey responses from parents either needed to be redone in a format that was more accessible or in a different format altogether. As we later learned that the format through which we sent the survey has a function to embed the survey into the ParentSquare message that one PUSD parent says makes it easier.
Voucher Total: $48,802
Resource Contributions: The Porterville P8 Coalition for PUSD
By the Numbers
Community Engagement Activities
- 1 Community outreach event with dinner provided
- 1 Transportation survey
- 3-4 Advisory group meetings
- 2-3 Pop-up events
- 4-5 Telephone and video meetings
Estimated Quantifiable Benefits
- Direct Jobs: 1
- Indirect Jobs: 1
- Induced Jobs: 1
The project covers the school district’s community across Porterville, which includes East Porterville, Central Porterville, Dexter, and North Plano and has a population size of 30,660 as of 2018. With a median household income of $39,909, a poverty rate of 30.1%, and an unemployment rate of 7.6% as of October 2019, the community faces interrelated health, environmental and economic challenges. Porterville USD has one of the oldest diesel school bus fleets in California, including buses with an average age of 14.5 years, and average odometer mileage of 181,300.
Over the next ten years (by 2030), it is the goal of Porterville USD to develop its ‘Pathways to Clean Mobility for Porterville Schools Program’ (Program) to provide every student in its district the ability to get to and from school with zero-pollution and zero-GHG emissions transportation. The results of the needs assessment will help develop this program and strategies to reach the goal. The needs assessment will help to address the gap connecting the clean mobility plans developed by the City of Porterville and the Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG) to the needs and capacity of the local school community.
Outreach & Engagement Strategies
- Student interns
- Online surveys
- Personal interviews
- Community forums
- Focus groups
- Social media
- School faculty and staff
- School caregivers
Porterville Unified School District (PUSD) is a California public school district in California’s Central Valley, with the following student demographics: 14,514 students (2019-20), 77.6% qualify for free & reduced meals, 26.5% are English learners. PUSD is conducting a transportation access data analysis and a community engagement process to determine transportation gaps, needs, and preferences of the school district’s community across Porterville.