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  • The E3 Group

New survey indicates Roosevelt Middle School teachers increasingly dissatisfied.

If you’re a parent of a child attending a public school in Illinois, you’ve probably received multiple reminders to fill out the 5Essentials survey, which the Illinois State Board of Education administers to students, parents, and teachers at all schools in the state. But you may not be aware of what this survey has to say about schools or about trends in schools. The surprising answer in River Forest is that teachers at Roosevelt Middle School appear to see the trend is downward.

The 5Essentials survey of teachers has 19 measures of school learning climate, including measures such as Instructional Leadership, School Commitment, Teacher Influence, and Teacher-Parent Trust. At Roosevelt, teachers ranked all 19 measures lower in 2019 than they did the last time the survey was administered, in 2017.

Instructional leadership in River Forest has the largest decline among all 19 measures. Roosevelt Middle School ranked in the 42nd percentile statewide in Instructional Leadership after the 2017 survey. This was very early in the District’s overhaul of curriculum and instruction associated with equity initiatives. The same measure plummeted to the 8th percentile in the recent 2019 survey. Thirty-four percent of teachers disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement “communicates a clear vision for our school.” Fifty-eight percent of teachers disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement “knows what’s going on in my classroom.” Interestingly, the leadership is largely unchanged. The same superintendent has managed District 90 since 2011. Roosevelt Middle School has had the same principal for nearly two decades, suggesting recent teacher dissatisfaction is pointed elsewhere.

A decline in all 19 measures is unique to River Forest. The table below shows the number of 5Essentials teacher survey measures declining from 2017 to 2019. Oak Park’s middle schools declined in 18 of 19 measures. Six other middle schools District 90 calls comparable declined in 6 to 12 measures. Of the nine middle schools, Roosevelt Middle School fell the most in ranking on Instructional Leadership, declining by 34%, with middle schools in Oak Park declining by 18% to 19%. Among other comparable schools, there was a range of change from a 17% decline to a 10% increase.

One hopeful possibility is that teachers who did not respond to the survey in 2019 were more positively disposed toward the changes than those who responded. The Roosevelt Middle School teacher response rate was 100% in 2017 and 66% in 2019. However, there is no way of knowing how the nonrespondents’ opinions compare to those of the respondents.

According to the Roosevelt Middle School teachers who responded to the 5Essentials survey, the learning climate has declined appreciably. It may be the wholesale changes in curriculum and instruction, and the associated changes in class scheduling being considered, are cause for concern among teachers. The survey is an imperfect way to hear how teachers have reacted to changes occurring between 2017 and 2019, but the results are unsettling.

More about the 5Essentials survey:

The five components critical for school success are as follows:

Effective Leaders: The principal works with teachers to implement a clear and strategic vision for school success.

Collaborative Teachers: Teachers collaborate to promote professional growth..

Involved Families: The entire school staff builds strong relationships with families and communities to support learning.

Supportive Environment: The school is safe and orderly. Teachers have high expectations for students and support students to realize their goals. Classmates also support one another.

Ambitious Instruction: Classes are academically demanding and engage students by emphasizing the application of knowledge.

The condition of these five components are gauged using multiple measures for each. Examples of specific measures include: Instructional Leadership, School Commitment, Teacher Influence and Teacher-Parent Trust. There are nineteen measures in common between the 2017 and 2019 teacher surveys; one was eliminated in 2019. Each of these measures are assessed using multiple survey questions. For example, Teachers were asked to respond to six different statements regarding the Instructional Leadership measure where they could respond Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree or Strongly Agree. The results of all questions for each measure are used to place the school in a ranking among Illinois Schools.


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