1 Simple Survey to Help Connect Students with Caring Adults

Do you know who your students are connected to? With this survey - you can!

We’ve gotten so much use out of this one tool!


I want to share with you a step by step guide to creating a tool that we, at my school and other schools in my district, use a ton since we have had it implemented. I cannot take credit for the idea – a colleague in our district had the idea – but I cannot just sit on a great opportunity like this. School counselors know that relationships reign king (or queen) in our line of work. A number of indicators with research backing show that students who feel connected with at least one caring adult at school tend to fare much better. We wanted to capitalize on this fact, but need to know who is or is not connected and with what adults.

We started this school year with a teacher based activity where photos of all of our students (we used old yearbook pages from the year prior or photos provided by the company who takes your ID pics) around the room where our staff meetings happen. We gave teachers small dot stickers (maybe 10 or so) and asked them to go around the room and place stickers next to students whom they felt they had a strong relationship with. This took maybe 10 minutes tops. If you go no further – just doing this activity gave us a lot of insight into who is connected with an adult (from our eyes – more on this later).







The Student Survey

The student connections survey is actually VERY simple, but powerful. To set up the survey – we use Google Forms (but you could use SurveyMonkey or TypeForm too). It is 2 questions. Start with whatever you wish to title it. Next, add a multiple choice question¬†(make it required). We used the following question: “Do you have a high caring adult on campus? (A high caring adult is someone on campus who you can go to for support, help and/or guidance.)”.

After that – add another survey section (from the add menu on the right). Jump back to the first question and select “Go to section based on answer”. Have the Yes response go to section 2 and the No response submit form.

Add another multiple choice question in section 2 and select the checkboxes option. Now you will need to add the names of your teachers and staff. We also added their photos to help students (especially the Freshmen or if you work with younger students), but that is not required. You can add a photo by clicking the little photo icon to the right of the option. Be sure to include all staff (cafeteria, aides, etc.).

Under settings – be sure to collect email addresses (or add a name field to the survey). We use Google Apps so we can have our tech folks match emails to names for the data end of things. We also limit it to users on our domain so students do need to submit with their school accounts and limit responses to 1.


Since we used a digital survey, we sent it out via Google Classroom and email to students. Teachers asked students to complete the survey in our advisory classes too. On our first go – we didn’t get all students to respond (especially our outgoing seniors), but it was a good start. You could choose to do a paper survey, but I hope you like data entry. No recommended.

How do we use the results?

Our Circle of Care team regularly taps into the results of this survey when we collaborate on supporting some of our students. When we discuss a student of concern, we look up which teachers reported connections with them and also if the student reported connections with any adults on campus. We ask those adults to have an extra keen eye out for the student and make an effort to approach them. Our teachers have had great success with this and over 85% of students reported having at least one adult with a high care relationship on campus.

Another way we used it in our district was in the case of a local crisis. A beloved teacher and coach passed away in a car accident this year at our sister high school. It heavily affected the community, students, and staff. We used this survey to identify students who may be more affected than others because they reported a close relationship with the staff member. We were able to personally check in with each of those students proactively to provide support. It was an invaluable tool.

Survey Example In Action

Below you can see an abbreviated version of our survey in action:

<iframe src="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdxBkGyFe3BH9oHXs3mNyvVWt_8g8uns0q2GzxoPeV9vn9jhA/viewform?embedded=true" width="800" height="500" frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0">Loading...</iframe>

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