Transcript: What’s New? California School Climate Health and Learning Surveys (CalSCHLS) Update
Welcome everyone to the webinar. This is sponsored by the California Center for School Climate (CCSC) and the webinar today is, What’s New? California School Climate Health and Learning Surveys (CalSCHLS) Update. My name is Leslie Poynor and I am the State Coordinator for CalSCHLS. I am happy to have you here, and on this next slide I’m going to share with you the agenda for today. Today we’re going to talk about the California School Climate Health and Learning Surveys, give you an overview, and then we’re going to talk about what’s new in the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) and also what’s new in the California School Staff Survey (CSSS). Then we’ll look at how you could explore the data, and then we’ll give you some next steps and opportunities.
We’re going to start with the CalSCHLS overview. What does CalSCHLS stand for? And I think you probably already know, but I’m just going to highlight it. It stands for the California School Climate Health and Learning Surveys. What exactly is that and what exactly does it measure? CalSCHLS is actually a system of surveys, and it includes three surveys: the student survey, which is the California Healthy Kids Survey; the staff survey, which is the California School Staff Survey; and then the parent and family survey, which is the California School Parent Survey (CSPS). What’s really great about the surveys is that they are modular. So that means there is a core module that everybody takes, but then there are some supplementary modules, and in fact, today is going to be a discussion of what’s new with those supplementary modules, as well as some new things on the core. And then for any district or county that has some specific needs, we can create a custom module.
What is it again? It is for local data. The California Healthy Kids Survey provides schools right down to the school level, districts, and counties, information about how to improve academic achievement and the social, emotional, behavioral, physical health and wellbeing of students. That local data is at the student, staff, and parent level. And in the chart on the right, you can see what number of students have responded to the survey in the past two years, what number of staff, and what number of parents. In addition to the local data, we also collect data from a representative sample across the state, a randomly selected statewide sample that gives us information to have representative countywide reports and representative statewide reports.
What does it actually measure? Let’s zoom in on this and see what it actually measures. When you look at our core modules, you can see that across the student, staff, and parent surveys, we collect data on academic motivation, on ATOD (alcohol, tobacco, and drug) use, perceived safety, bullying, caring relationships, other protective factors, parent involvement, quality of the physical environment. All of those are measured across all three surveys on the core module. In addition, on the Healthy Kids Survey, the student survey, we collect on the core module information about school connectedness, chronic sadness, sleep, et cetera. If you were to add the School Climate Module to the student survey, then you would also get data across all three surveys on the relationships among students, diversity, and teacher and other supports for learning.
Now I am happy to turn this over to my colleague, Tom Hanson. Take it away Tom.
Thank you so much, Leslie. I’m Tom Hanson and I direct the CalSCHLS project on the WestEd side of things. What I’m going to do is I’m just going to try to carry Leslie’s baton here and quickly describe what is new on the California Healthy Kids Survey and on the California School Staff Survey.
So, what is new? Well, what is new is an increased emphasis on mental and behavioral health and wellness. The survey was modified to more comprehensively assess the mental and behavioral health and wellness of students and the supports available to address students’ mental and behavioral health needs. For the CHKS, new measures have been added to the Core Module, a new behavioral health module has been created and is available, and there is a new trauma module. So on the next slide I’m going to show you that this slide shows the mental health and wellness measures on the Core Module. The Core has included self-report measures of chronic sadness and suicide contemplations since at least 2009. The chronic sadness items actually come from, they’ve been administered since 2003, so LEAs and schools have the ability to examine long term trends in these measures.
In 2021, that’s the year when most students attended school remotely, we added a measure of social emotional distress — this measures internal psychological distress related to anxiety and sadness. And we added a measure of optimism — that’s the degree to which students have positive expectations about their personal future. Last year we added a life satisfaction measure, this measures overall subjective wellbeing, and we added two new boredom questions asking about school boredom and how much value students place on school. So, the way students respond to these boredom items really provides insights into their social emotional wellbeing without the sometimes stigma students feel about asking directly about mental health. So more on that below.
We show with the newly added social emotional distress and life satisfaction measures, we will be providing frequency tables and graphs showing dual factor mental health profiles. This information will be provided on the reports and on the dashboard — I’ll describe those a little bit later — but the dual factor model of mental health incorporates indicators of subjective wellbeing and measures of psychological distress to create a typology. So, the profiles are depicted in this table. The optimal pattern, Complete Mental Health is shown in the northwest cell, where students report low distress and strong or moderate life satisfaction. The suboptimal pattern is in the southeast cell labeled Troubled, high distress and high dissatisfaction with life. So, these students would benefit from additional follow up tier two assessment and support services. In the southwest, Languishing students have low distress but are dissatisfied with their life, and in the northeast, Symptomatic, but Content students have high distress but high levels of satisfaction. So, these different profiles are associated with different outcomes and different types of support needed.
Michael Furlong from UC Santa Barbara developed the Dual Factor Mental Health Approach with these items and he will be providing more details about this in a webinar brought to you by the Center (CCSC). And that webinar will take place in mid-November. We don’t have it exactly scheduled yet, but stay tuned. Somewhat analogous to the mental health profiles, we will also provide frequency tables and graphs showing school boredom mindset profiles. On October 26 we have another webinar with Mike Furlong, and he will provide more details about what these profiles tell us about the wellbeing of students and how best to meet students’ needs armed with this information.
Okay, so as Leslie mentioned, one benefit of the CHKS is that the Department of Healthcare Services has funded the Biennial State CHKS, which provides statewide data based on a random sample of schools. In the current Biennial State CHKS, the Core Module and the Alcohol and Other Drug Use (AOD) Module is administered to a random sample of schools. Starting next year, the Biennial State CHKS will use the Core Module and the new Behavioral Health Module. Okay, so hold on. So the new Behavioral Health Module contains two forms. One form is the AOD Module, so we will continue to collect statewide data relevant to substance use prevention. And the other form is the Behavioral Health Form, which collects data on other aspects of behavioral health. So we will have state representative data to monitor broader aspects of behavioral health, and although not scheduled to be administered statewide until next year, the Behavioral Health Module is available now for administration by LEAs.
Also new this year is the Trauma Module, which assesses stressors and protective factors related to trauma as well as trauma impacts. Please note that the Trauma Module does not measure adverse childhood experiences. We feel that those items are too sensitive to be assessed or measured in a classroom setting on an anonymous survey. So the next slide shows a table that shows the selected measures assessed on the trauma and behavioral health modules. The Trauma Module assesses safety perceptions, emotional safety at school, co-regulation supports from others, emotion regulation, trauma and PTSD symptoms, and stress-associated health conditions. The Behavioral Health Module assesses some of the constructs on the trauma module. It also assesses loneliness, body image and disordered eating, self-harm behavior, and mental health supports. Just a quick note, that if a district elects to administer both modules, students will not have to answer the same question twice. We have it programed so that we only ask the question once, even though the question is on both modules.
So what’s new on the California School Staff Survey? Well, we’ve developed two new modules. There’s the Staff Student Wellness Module and there’s the Trauma-Informed Practice Module. The Staff Student Wellness Module, which was developed by the University of California at San Francisco’s School Health Services Research and Evaluation team, assesses staff perceptions of students’ social and emotional health, staff mental health, student mental health needs, availability of mental health supports and services, and staff efficacy to provide trauma-informed care among other things. And the Staff Trauma Informed Practice Module — this was developed as we developed the Student Trauma Module because we felt we needed additional information about staff implementation and staff perceptions of environment and staff supports to implement trauma-informed care.
So this module includes indicators of a trauma sensitive environment. It also includes measures of staff attitudes related to trauma-informed care. That portion, assessing staff attitudes, comes from the attitudes related to trauma-informed care instrument developed by the Traumatic Stress Institute. And so these items can be used to assess staff readiness to implement trauma-informed practices, as well as evidence of changes in mindsets related to the trauma-informed care paradigm. The module also assesses school trauma-informed practice implementation and self-care practices.
So next I’m going to just briefly, quickly describe what tools exist to explore the data. All CalSCHLS participants receive a detailed PDF report that contains summary information plus frequency distributions for every question on the survey. This is a fairly heavy, dense report. They also receive district mental health reports. All participants receive district school climate report cards, and all the results are posted on the CalSCHLS public dashboard. And those results are published in the November following the academic year that the data were collected, so last year’s data will be posted this November. These data are available to everyone. It’s wide open. In addition to that, districts can subscribe to a password protected dashboard that is updated weekly and allows users to disaggregate results by demographics and drill down to see school level results
Very quickly, here’s a screenshot of the key indicator table of the PDF report. By the way, these district reports are available on the CalSCHLS website. Here is an excerpt of the Mental Health Report. You’ll see on the first page of the Mental Health Report it shows the results for the most recent academic year by grade. So if you use your telescope, you can look at this and you can see chronic sadness. It generally increases by grade. On the right side of the slide, you can see the results for a specific grade and how those trends change across time. So this allows you to look at trends of mental health indicators across time.
Here’s an excerpt of the School Climate Report Card. The high school report is on the left. The elementary report is on the right. Also there are example reports on the website. Okay and here is a screenshot of the Public Dashboard. Again, this is available on our website to everyone. Just to zoom in a little bit, this dashboard allows you to examine select state level results, county level results, or results for a specific district. There are indicators for different measures. In this case, this result is for chronic sadness, and the dashboard allows disaggregation by demographic groups, so all the groups listed under step four on the left side of this dashboard can be used to select which groups. You can select all students. In this case, we’re disaggregating by gender. If we look at the results, we see that within grade, females report substantially higher levels of chronic sadness than males. These are real data, by the way. So next, I’m going to pass this off to Nisha to talk about upcoming opportunities.
Hello everyone. We would like to thank our speakers, Tom Hanson and Leslie Poynor, very much for joining us today and sharing so much helpful information about the California Healthy Kids Survey and the California School Staff Survey. Thank you very much for your attendance at this webinar.