The Minnesota Student Survey
Our school district is asking students in the 6th, 9th and 12th grades to participate in the 2010 Minnesota Student Survey.
This survey is conducted in schools across our state every three years. The survey is given to get useful information from students about how things are going at school, with their peers and about health-related thoughts and behaviors. The information helps us develop and maintain effective programs and provide better services at school and through community groups. The statewide information assists in guiding state programs. When we get the report in the fall, information from the students in our district will be shared with school staff, students, parents and the community.
Our school district has informed parents of such surveys in the past and now federal law also requires us to notify parents of this school activity. There are frank questions on the survey about many topics relating to young people’s lives. These include use of alcohol or other drugs, safety in and around the schools, physical activity and nutrition, mental or emotional health (stress, feeling bad), illegal or anti-social behavior (theft, chemical use, fighting) and if religious beliefs affect personal decisions. Questions are asked only of 9th and 12th grade students regarding sexual behavior and attitudes. If students are not involved in an activity, they skip the related questions and go on to the next section. The survey also asks about how well school is going, future plans, how adolescents spend their time and about how the school, family and community support them.
The survey is anonymous and confidential. Students do not provide their names, student identification numbers or other personal information. No individuals or their families can be identified. The results are reported on the school district’s students as a whole. The privacy of students is protected.
The survey is voluntary. You may choose to have your son or daughter not take the survey by completing and returning the opt-out form, which will be made available before students are asked to take the survey. Students may decline to take any part of the survey or the whole survey and are informed of that option by staff.
The Minnesota Student Survey (MSS) is a collaboration between Minnesota schools and the Minnesota Departments of Education, Employment and Economic Development, Health, Human Services and Public Safety which work together to implement, analyze, report and fund the initiative.
The survey is an important vehicle for youth voice. School district leaders and educators, local public health agencies and state, community and social services agencies use the survey results in planning and evaluation for school and community initiatives and prevention programming.
For further information, please contact:
Kathy Brothen, Coordinated School Health Program Coordinator