Orange County Public Schools announced Wednesday, Oct. 19, it will administer a Panorama Education "wellness survey" to students in grades four through 12.
The survey window is open now and will close Nov. 11. Parents who want a copy of the survey questions can obtain them from their child's school. District officials said it will not include any questions regarding sexual orientation or gender identity.
"School leadership teams use the results to look at school-wide trends and monitor/update their school improvement plans," OCPS Media Relations Manager Michael Ollendorff said. "They can also gauge the school culture and climate. Teachers can look at overall school data and determine what skills they may want to concentrate on within their classrooms. Teachers do not receive individual student data, just the school-wide data.
Ollendorff said the questions will focus on student perceptions of their own:
• Self-management skills, such as how they handle when they get angry or if they complete their work on time;
• Social-awareness skills, such as how well they work in groups or how well they listen when other students or teachers are sharing their opinions; and
• Sense of belonging, which is whether they feel connected to the school community.
For the past two years, OCPS surveyed students in grade three through 12. However, this year, the district chose to remove third-grade students from the survey because of concerns regarding surveying younger students, Ollendorff said.
Parents who choose to opt their children out of the survey can do so by contacting their school and connecting with its survey coordinator. In ES/K-8, this is the school counselor; in middle and high school, it is the school's SAFE coordinator. Moreover, if a student states he or she does not want to take the survey, he or she will not be required to. There is no need to fill out any opt-out form.
OCPS contracts with Panorama Education for the administration of the Fall Student SEL survey and annual stakeholder survey for students, employees and families. The total annual cost of this contract is $524,900. This year's cost is paid using funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.