In alignment with our Instructional Core Vision, we want every student to love learning, be proud of their school, and feel like an important part of their school community. In order to realize this vision, we need to center and uplift our students’ perspectives and lived experiences, and make relationship-building a fundamental part of the learning process. To meet this need, CPS partnered with the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research (UChicago Consortium) and UChicago Impact to introduce the Cultivate Survey in the Fall of 2022.
Cultivate is a survey tool designed by the UChicago Consortium on School Research that asks every student in grades 5 to 12 to share how they feel about their learning experiences and classroom culture, as well as their overall sense of belonging and engagement. It asks students to share on topics like, “This teacher makes what we're learning really interesting” or, “In this class, my ideas are taken seriously.”
The survey takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete and will be taken by students twice a year, once in the fall and again in the spring. The first survey will reveal key areas for improvement, and the second will measure the degree of improvement during the course of the school year.
Schools will be able to look at results at the school, grade, or content level. This information will help teachers, principals, and the District better understand how students are experiencing their classrooms, and learn more about ways we can all improve. School administrators will be able to track response rates, but will not be able to view individual student responses. Furthermore, the survey data will not be tied to particular classrooms, and will not be used to evaluate teachers, staff, or schools.
The 5Essentials provides insight into the five factors that matter most for school improvement: Effective Leaders, Collaborative Teachers, Involved Families, Supportive Environment, and Ambitious Instruction. A survey like the 5Essentials provides invaluable feedback to school leadership about everything from academics to workplace culture, dynamics, and conditions to the engagement of families as partners—all of the elements that make up a school ecosystem.
On the other hand, Cultivate digs more deeply into one subset of that ecosystem, the classroom environment, to give teachers feedback.
Pairing a school climate survey like the 5Essentials alongside Cultivate provides school leaders and teachers with not only a broad and deep understanding of how students are experiencing school, but also the different levers to help improve conditions at the school and classroom level for the benefit of all students.