Parents Invited to Take School Survey

5Essentials Survey An Indicator of School Success
Posted on 11/16/2018
5Essentials Survey

District 28 will join the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in participating in the statewide survey on school climate and learning conditions. The survey provides a unique opportunity for students, teachers and parents to have a voice in their schools.

Parents were e-mailed an invitation to participate on Nov. 15.

For the first time this year, fourth- and fifth-grade students will participate, in addition to our junior high students. All classroom teachers will also be invited to complete a survey. The survey window for students and staff will open Dec. 11. All surveys will close on Jan. 18, 2019.


The survey takes about 25 minutes to complete. Designed and administered by the University of Chicago on behalf of the Illinois State Board of Education, it is intended to help identify strengths and weaknesses in our school’s learning environment. These surveys will serve as an opportunity for our schools to reflect on progress since the survey in 2016. Each school in the district will receive a report on parent responses if a minimum of 20 percent respond. Student and teacher surveys require a 50 percent response.

The Illinois 5Essentials Survey provides a snapshot 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
  • Ambitious Instruction

Twenty years of research at the University of Chicago in more than 400 schools have shown that 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 a rigorous analysis of student and teacher survey responses, 5Essentials Reports demonstrate that 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 percent of all schools in the state met the 50-percent participation threshold to receive a 5Essentials Report, with participation from more than 70 percent of all teachers and eligible 6th through 12th graders across Illinois. 

Starting in the 2018-19 school year, the survey will be required annually.  The survey was deemed an important component to balanced accountability under the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which resulted in state law requiring the survey annually.

Principals and superintendents will receive their 5Essentials Reports in March 2019. Survey results will also be reported publicly on the 5Essentials reporting site in Spring 2019 and on the State School Report Card website in Fall 2019.

Teachers, students, and parents may complete the Illinois 5Essentials Survey online. For more information visit: