Mendota High School to take part in survey of school climate, learning conditions

Information will be gathered through March 11

Mendota High School

Mendota High School will join the Illinois State Board of Education in the 11th statewide survey of school climate and learning conditions.

The survey provides a unique opportunity for students, teachers and parents to have a voice in improving their schools.

Through March 11, students and teachers will be asked to take a 25-minute research-based survey to help identify strengths and weaknesses in their school’s learning environment. The parent survey supplement also will be administered during the same survey window. These surveys will serve as an opportunity for schools to reflect on progress since the last statewide implementation.

“We encourage all our teachers, students, and parents to make their voices heard to impact change in our school district,” said Mendota Principal Denise Aughenbaugh. “We especially ask parents to share their feedback because they can provide useful insights that might otherwise go unnoticed.”

The Illinois 5Essentials Survey provides a comprehensive picture of a school’s organizational culture in an individualized report measuring five “essentials” critical for school success: Effective leaders, collaborative teachers, involved families, supportive environment and ambitious instruction

Twenty years of research at the University of Chicago in more than 400 schools has shown schools that were strong on at least three of the 5Essentials were 10 times more likely to make substantial gains in improving student reading and math than schools that were weak on three or more of the Essentials. Those differences remained true even after controlling for student and school characteristics, including poverty, race, gender and neighborhood characteristics. Strength on components within the Essentials also correlated with increased teacher retention, student attendance, college enrollment and high school graduation.

Generated from an analysis of student and teacher survey responses, 5Essentials Reports demonstrate what students and teachers say about their schools can serve as important indicators for school success. In the inaugural 2012-2013 statewide Illinois 5Essentials Survey, 87% of all schools in the state met the 50%-participation threshold to receive a 5Essentials Report, with participation from more than 70% of all teachers and eligible sixth through 12th graders across Illinois. Starting in 2018-19, fourth and fifth grade students were also included in the 5Essentials survey administration.

All district schools, including alternative schools that fall under the district’s domain, are required to participate in a school learning conditions survey every year. Starting in school year 2018-19, the survey will be required annually. The survey was deemed an important component to balanced accountability under the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan by stakeholders, which resulted in state legislative changes requiring the survey annually.

Recent legislation (105 ILCS 5/2-3.153) allows school districts the option to select an alternative to the 5Essentials from a pre-approved pool for the 2020-21 administration. Selection of an alternative required school board and local union approval and was at the district’s own expense. Details on survey alternatives can be found on the State Board’s website at

Mendota High School has consistently participated in the statewide 5Essentials Survey and is opting to administer the survey to teachers and students again this year to continue tracking and informing progress.

Principals and superintendents will receive their 5Essentials Reports in May 2023. Survey results will also be reported publicly on the 5Essentials reporting site in spring 2023 and on the State School Report Card website in fall 2023. An optional parent survey supplement is again available to all schools as a supplement to the 5Essentials Survey for teachers and students — results from the parent survey supplement will be included only in the individual school 5Essential Reports. Since 2013-14, the Illinois 5Essentials Survey has been normed using the 2012-13 statewide results so that all schools can demonstrate progress over time.

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