Survey: Low Morale at Rockford Public Schools

Survey of employees to be presented at special School Board meeting Tuesday

ROCKFORD - The Rockford Public Schools' Board of Education will review an employee engagement survey during a Special Board Meeting on Tuesday which shows that employees suffer from low morale overall due to a perceived lack of leadership.  The report comes in the wake of PARCC standardized test scores which show a significant drop in student performance over the past three years at Rockford Public Schools.

'Engagement' in the survey of school district employees is a term meant to encompass six aspects of employees' work environment:  Shared values, Leadership, Communication, Feedback and recognition, Work environment and Career growth and training opportunities.  According to a summary prepared for Board Members, 77% of staff members are engaged or highly engaged.

The report goes on to conclude, however, that, "Only 21% of staff members agreed or strongly agreed that morale is high in the district and only 51% of staff members agreed or strongly agreed that morale is high in their school or department.  Further only 32% of staff members agreed or strongly agreed that district leaders understand their professional needs."

The numbers show that those who are considered to be 'highly engaged' in RPS 205 are mostly those who work outside the classroom.  For example, 49% of Building Administrators and 42% of Central Office Administrators are classified by the survey as 'highly engaged', but only 19% of Classroom Teachers fit into the category.  56% of teachers are classified as 'engaged' while 24% are considered to be 'less engaged'.

Scores of specific statements indicate higher marks for principals at individual schools in areas such as trust, work environment and leadership, but lower marks when it comes to communication and leadership at the district level leading to low morale overall.  District morale was scored as a 2.62 out of 5 in the survey.  Anything below 3.64 is considered to be a low score according to the district's summary.

You can read the full presentation here.

The survey was done before the Illinois State Board of Education released PARCC scores for every school district in the state, revealing that RPS 205 students are regressing when it comes to state standards for college and career readiness.  According to the ISBE's 'Illinois Report Card', the percentage of RPS 205 students who did not meet PARCC expectations have risen from 23% in 2015 to 31% in 2017.  By contrast, those who met or exceeded expectations have dropped from 23% to 17%.  In addition, just 24% of high school students taking the SAT's met or exceeded expectations according to the ISBE.

You can see a full report card for every Stateline area school district in Illinois based on PARCC and SAT test date here.


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