Having recently switched teaching jobs, I am realizing the importance of school climate. I am sure many of you are wondering what is school climate. School Climate includes all aspects of school life such as safety, relationships, teaching and learning, and the environment as well as larger organizational patterns.
Working in several school districts, I have been thinking about why in my current school do students seem to want so much to learn, to help others, and to respect their peers and staff; whereas, in other districts this has not been the case. I think that it really comes down to school climate. Educational research as also consistently shown that positive school climate is associated with academic achievement, risks prevention and positive youth development.
What should you look for to see if your school has a positive school climate? Check out the below items:
1) People are engaged and respected including students, staff and parents
2) Students, families and educators work together to develop a shared school vision.
3) Norms, values, and expectations exist that support people feeling socially, emotionally and physically safe.
4) Teachers and other school staff model and nurture attitudes that emphasize the benefits of education.
5) Each person takes care of the physical school environment.
Although these things seem pretty basic and you would expect them in all schools, this is sadly not the case. I feel very fortunate to teach in a school with a very positive school climate and definitely felt it from the first day of meeting the staff and students.