Historically, school improvement efforts have primarily focused on technical factors such as grades and test scores while neglecting the social components of a school's culture, such as trust and commitment. The 5Essentials changes that reality.

The 5Essentials System

The 5Essentials is a research-based and practice-proven school improvement system that provides data and insight into schools’ organizational strengths and areas of opportunity across the five essential factors for school improvement: Effective Leaders, Collaborative Teachers, Involved Families, Supportive Environment, and Ambitious Instruction. Researchers have found that schools strong on at least three of the five essentials were 10 times more likely to show substantial gains in student learning over time than schools weak on three or more of the five essentials. Research also shows that a persistently low score in even just one of the five essentials reduced the likelihood of improvement to less than 10 percent. The 5Essentials System is composed of:

The 5Essentials Survey

A diagnostic assessment of a school's culture and climate designed to identify organizational strengths and areas of opportunity on the five essential factors that drive shool improvement. It measure changes in the organizational conditions that are necessary for school improvement and predicts a schools' success in improving student outcomes. 5Essentials Survey reports are individualized and show multi-year trends that allow schools to dig into their data, formulate strategic actions, and track their improvement. Explore the 5Essentials Reporting Site.

The 5Essentials Survey has been administered to more than 5 million students, teachers, and parents in nearly 6,000 schools across the country.

5Essentials Leadership Development

5Essentials Leadership Development builds leadership team capacity to improve the practices that are critical to driving school improvement. Through a collaborative partnership, the 5Essentials team provides schools with two levels of support: 5Essentials Professional Learning and 5Essentials Leadership Coaching. Learn More about 5Essentials Leadership Development.


  • 63% of coaching partner schools improved their overall 5Essentials rating or maintained their “Organized” or “Well Organized” status
  • 84% of coaching partner schools achieved growth on one prioritized 5Essentials Measure that outpaced the district’s growth on the same Measure
  • ​​​85% of partner leadership team members strongly agreed that their UChicago Impact School Leadership Coach is critical to their ability to grow as a successful school leaders
  • UChicago Impact received a 95% Net Promoter Score

5Essentials in Action