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.
School Climate and Culture
In October 2010, California became one of eleven states selected by the U.S. Department of Education to receive a four‐year Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) grant. The grant supported statewide measurement of conditions for learning (known also as school climate), as well as targeted programmatic interventions to improve those conditions in comprehensive high schools (grades 9-12) with the greatest need. In particular, this initiative was designed to help address disruptive behaviors in school—such as bullying, harassment and violence, and substance use on campus—and promote safe, caring, engaging, and healthy school environments that foster learning and well-being among both students and staff. The California Department of Education selected 58 high schools to participate in the grant.
These annual reports provide insights into the activities and impacts of the grant, with data from the existing California School Climate, Health, and Learning Survey (CalSCHLS) system, a team-developed School Climate Index (SCI), and a formative evaluation model which included evaluation site visits to every school in the spring of 2012, 2013, and 2014.
The Workbook for Improving School Climate, 2nd Edition, is meant to help school communities interpret and use data from the California Healthy Kids Survey, the California School Climate Survey for staff, and the California School Parent Survey.
This workbook walks users through their school or district survey findings to create supportive school climates that enhance professional outcomes for staff, academic and social and emotional outcomes for students, and involvement outcomes for parents. It is designed to assist local school community members in their efforts to close the racial/ethnic achievement gap and to strengthen special education, migrant education, and other educational services for culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse students.
Learn more about the surveys on the CalSCHLS website.
The California Department of Education (CDE) was one of eleven state education agencies that received four-year grants from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010-11 to participate in a Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) Initiative. CDE funded 58 high schools to be part of this effort based on need, as identified by California Healthy Kids Survey data. The project framework provides a model for districts in developing and implementing their Local Control and Accountability Plans. The goals for the California S3 program were to:
- Improve conditions for learning, including school climate and safety, in high schools with the greatest need.
- Integrate school climate reform into schoolwide academic improvement efforts.
- Build local district and school capacity to implement data-driven school improvements.
- Establish a comprehensive and sustainable model for school climate improvement to guide school and district efforts.
This matrix shows the school climate improvement strategies that each S3 grantee selected to implement as part of their improvement efforts.
CalSCHLS grew out of the California Department of Educations’s commitment to promote the successful cognitive, social, and emotional development of all the state’s youth, close the achievement gap for students who are part of historically underserved communities, foster positive school working environments for staff, and improve school accountability and data-driven reform. Together, these surveys provide schools and districts with critical information about their learning and teaching environments, the health and well-being of students, and the quality and availability of supports for parents, school staff, and students. When used together, data from these three surveys help schools assess and target the strengths, needs, and concerns of all members of the school community, including teachers and other staff members, students, and parents.
This reference guide provides an overview to the questions related to school climate assessed by the three CalSCHLS surveys. It is designed as a reference tool to help survey users consider the connections across the surveys and illuminate the relevance of all the survey items to school improvement.
The Climate Connection Toolkit outlines no- and low-cost, practical strategies for examining a school’s climate. It is designed to extend the utility of What Works Briefs for school climate improvement, created as part of the California Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) initiative, which outline research-based recommendations for universal and targeted school climate improvement policies, practices, and programs. The self-contained activities in the Climate Connection Toolkit, some of which were inspired by S3 grantees, are organized to assist school personnel in their ongoing efforts to improve the quality of relationships shared within and between adult and student groups on their campuses.