By EDWARD HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Quincy School District is giving parents, students and teachers an opportunity to express their views about local schools by participating in the "Illinois 5 Essentials" survey being administered statewide from March 17 through April 25.
The survey, sponsored by the Illinois State Board of Education, will be given to all certified K-12 teachers and students in grades 6-12. In addition, parents of children in grades pre-kindergarten through 12 are also being encouraged to fill out the online survey.
The survey will be activated online March 17 at illinois.5-essentials.org. Parents also will be able to access the survey by going the Quincy School District's website -- www.qps.org -- and looking for the appropriate link in the "Quick Links" column starting March 17.
Information about the survey will be sent home with students this week.
Results from the survey will be released in June to principals and superintendents. The results also will be published on Illinois school "reports cards" issued by school districts next fall.
School districts must hear from at least 30 percent of parents to receive a state report summarizing the parental feedback at any individual school.
Carol Frericks, Quincy's secondary academic director, said she hopes parents will take the time to fill out the multiple-choice survey, which is designed to assess the "instructional climate" in about 4,000 Illinois schools.
"We value the input from our parents," Frericks said. "The most important thing that we'll get out of this is the feedback from our parents about our school-improvement efforts. We continually strive for academic improvement and school environment improvement, and by getting the feedback from our parents we will set goals for further improvements."
Last year when the Illinois 5 Essentials survey was offered for the first time, the Quincy School District received limited feedback from parents, but it was nonetheless useful in helping the district set some goals for school improvements this year.
"So this will be a way to measure if those areas of need have improved," Frericks said.
Last year's survey provided some insight into parental involvement in the schools and how parents felt about human and social resources available in the community. Frericks said the district received "a strong performance" in those areas based on the parent survey.
The survey also asked about the level of teacher/parent trust in the district.
"That was an area that we had a neutral rating on last year, given the input from our parents," Frericks said. "We definitely want to improve in that area, so we hope to see growth from the efforts that we've put forth this year."
School districts will be given aggregated summaries of the survey responses from teachers, students and parents. Schools will not receive any individual responses, which in effect makes the survey anonymous.
Parents who don't have a home computer will be able to take the survey using computers available during spring parent institutes being planned in local schools. Details about the institutes will be announced later this month.