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The Monticello School District is encouraging parents and staff to take part in the new Illinois State Board of Education's 5 Essential Survey.
The purpose of the anonymous survey is to gather data on what are considered to be five essential school indicators: Effective leadership, collaborative teachers, involved families, supportive environment, and ambitious instruction.
Data will be gathered and included on revamped State Report Cards next year.
"Research has shown that schools strong on these indicators, the '5 Essentials' are 10 times more likely to improve student learning," said Monticello Superintendent Vic Zimmerman in a letter to parents urging them to take the survey.
Results will be included on district report cards only if at least 30 percent of parents or 50 percent of school staff take part in the survey.
“The more people who fill out the survey, the better off we'll all be, so I'm going to try to push to really encourage participation," he said.
Parents and staff can fill out the survey between now and the end of March by logging onto https://illinois.5-essentials.org.
Not all taking part
Even though the survey is mandated, not all local school districts are immediately jumping on board. Atwood-Hammond Superintendent Kenny Schwengel is seeking answers on how the state will make sure only district residents fill out the survey.
"I'm not scared of the answers, but question the validity. I'm waiting back on answers from the State Board of Education," said Schwengel.
Blue Ridge Superintendent Susan Wilson said she planned to promote the survey eventually, but was "not quite there yet."
Zimmerman admitted that, with many school districts (including Monticello) pondering budget cuts for next year, it was not the best time to survey parents and staff. He also admits there could be some "blasting" done by non-residents of a district.
"There's certainly opportunity to get ripped. But I don't believe that's going to happen," he commented.