RPS Students Report Positive Perceptions of School Despite Pandemic
Rochester Public Schools

On Tuesday, December 15, student perception data was highlighted during the Rochester Public School (RPS) Board meeting.


The District uses an educational survey tool called Panorama Education. This survey is one important way that students have been able to share their voices and experiences while attending RPS. Panorama surveys have been administered to students in grades 3-12 a total of three times since Spring 2019. Additionally, secondary students (grades 6-12) had an opportunity to participate in a survey last spring during Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-20, the stay-at-home order. 

The Panorama survey is grouped into various categories that address social-emotional wellness.  These categories are then able to be compared across school years, buildings, and various subgroups of students. 

The Fall 2020 Panorama survey demonstrated student resiliency amid COVID-19 struggles.

The category Sense of Belonging is defined as how much students feel they are valued members of their school community. The results show: 

  • An overall increase of nine points for grades 3-5 and three points for grades 6-12 in the category since the last administration of the survey.
  • In response to the question, “How much do you belong at your school?”, only 4% of responding students in grades 6-12 answered, “not at all”. 

The area of Teacher-Student Relationships also had moderate increases in students grades 6-12, which is up five points from Spring 2020. In grades 3-5, there was an increase of seven points from the last administration in Fall 2019. Nationally, RPS ranks between the 60th and 90th percentile nationwide in this category. “Such a positive student perception data speaks highly to the hard work of teachers,” said Michael Muñoz, Superintendent.  “Building relationships is critical but challenging, especially during Distance Learning.”

Mental Health and Education professionals nationwide are having conversations around the topic of emotional regulation. At RPS, little to no change was reported in this category from students between the Fall 2019 and Fall 2020 survey administration in either grades 3-5 or grades 6-12. Assistant Director of Student Services, Denise Moody, stated, “I view this largely as a success in that the majority of our students are not regressing in emotional regulation despite the unprecedent challenges faced between the two survey administrations.” 

The data in this survey represents only a portion of the student body’s general wellness. With this understanding, the district’s Emotional and Mental Wellbeing team offers a variety of supports intended to bolster the resilience of students, staff and families within the district. These include: 

  • Universal classroom social-emotional lessons to Grades Pre-k through 8,
  • Emotional and Mental Wellbeing professionals at each building to offer group or individual support,
  • Free, confidential, and anonymous online screeners for anyone who may be worried about their mental health www.mentalhealthscreeningtools.com,
  • Free, virtual consultations with a community mental health provider for caregivers to address concerns regarding their child’s mental wellness https://rochestermnschedule.as.me/