Evanston’s two school districts–65 and 202–are advising parents of students to complete a survey by the State of Illinois designed to help measure the schools’ effectiveness at educating your kids.

The web-based survey is conducted online by the University of Chicago, which is under contract by the state to collect the responses and report the results to the state.

In order for the results to be announced to the public, at least 30 percent of a school’s parents must voluntarily complete the survey.

At the Evanston Township High School District 202 School Board meeting Monday night, administration officials noted that 30 percent was an ambitious target that they were hopeful their school’s parents would be able to meet.

The Evanston/Skokie District 65 administration, which runs the elementary and middle schools, distributed a letter to parents Tuesday with instructions for completing the survey, including a link for accessing the survey by computer.

A similar letter will be going to high school parents with their report cards in early March.

The survey is short and is estimated to be completed by the parent within 10 minutes.

It asks five multiple-choice demographic questions about grade level, ethnicity, the parents’ educational level, and the like, followed by five questions to gauge the parents’ views on such matters as communication with teachers and whether the parent would recommend the school to others.

Results from the parents will be included with surveys of students and teachers to enable the state to rate the schools on the basis of the following five “essentials”:  effective leaders, collaborative teachers, involved families, supportive environments, and ambitious instruction.

The surveys must be concluded by the end of March. Results are expected to be announced in October as part of the school’s “report card” from the state.

In his letter to parents, District 65 Superintendent Hardy Murphy said the survey will give parents the opportunity “to share your thoughts on the important elements of school effectiveness in a survey about your child’s school.”

Parents are expected to complete a survey for each school in which their children are enrolled.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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