The CalSCHLS School Connectedness Scale is an important differentiator between low-performing and high-performing high schools and has value as an indicator of school quality. School connectedness appeared to have increased in California recently, but it still declined markedly after students left elementary school with a substantial majority of high school students not feeling highly connected to their schools. The lowest rates of both connectedness and test scores occur in low-income schools.
An analysis of California School Climate Survey data from school staff shows that supportive working conditions for teachers and teacher relationships with each other are related to school climate and student academic performance. The results suggest that providing teachers opportunities to engage in healthy, productive collegial relationships supports a positive school climate, improves conditions for learning for students, and improves student academic achievement.
School climate, as measured by the School Climate Index (SCI), is strongly related to state Academic Performance Index (API) scores. As SCI scores increase—as high schools became safer, more supportive, and more engaging—API scores increase as well.
Student interest, engagement, and motivation are fostered by providing students with opportunities to participate in meaningful, personally relevant activities in school. This factsheet addresses how these opportunities are related to student well-being and school climate improvement.
High levels of teacher support are a critical component of positive school climate change. This factsheet focuses on two important aspects of how teachers can support student well-being and resilience—high expectations and caring relationships.