A safe, caring, and engaging school climate has been shown to have a positive impact on student learning and achievement, teacher organizational and professional commitment, and parent involvement and school choice. In recognition of the importance of school climate, in 2011, the Washoe County School District developed and administered the first annual School Climate Survey. The survey is intended to provide schools with data that reflect components of school climate that support a positive learning and working environment and that promote academic success among all students.
What is school climate?School climate has been defined as “the physical and psychological aspects of the school that are more susceptible to change and that provide the preconditions necessary for teaching and learning to take place” (Tableman, 2004). Some examples of the physical aspects of a school that affect learning and teaching include cleanliness, overcrowding, and school security. Examples of some psychological aspects of a school that affect learning include teacher expectations and support of students, how safe students and staff feel at the school, and how respectful staff and students are with each other.
Why is school climate important?Research shows that attendance, learning, test performance, and graduation rates are higher in schools where students feel safe, challenged, and supported. In addition, studies suggest that disciplinary problems and dropout rates are lower when the overall school climate is higher. In order for students to reach their maximum academic potential, schools must contribute to the students’ social and emotional growth. A safe, caring, and engaging school climate has been shown to have a positive impact on teacher organizational and professional commitment, and parent involvement and school choice.
What is the School Climate and Safety Survey Project?The School Climate and Safety Survey Project is a survey administered to students, staff, and parents of the WCSD in the spring each year. The survey consists of four instruments: (1) Student School Climate Survey, (2) Student School Safety Survey, (3) Teacher and Staff Climate Survey, and (4) Parent Climate Survey.In recognition of the importance of school climate, the WCSD developed an annual survey to assess the perception of school climate and safety among students, parents, teachers, and staff. The survey is intended to provide schools with a snapshot of current data about the aspects of their school that support a positive learning and working environment and that promote academic success among all students. The annual climate survey will allow schools to celebrate strengths, monitor changes over time, and respond to areas of challenge. When combined with other data such as attendance, disciplinary referrals, and student performance measures, the information from the Climate Survey can provide a powerful gauge of school climate.
Watch a short video on how the student climate surveys are administered: https://youtu.be/mQGWlQj87DM