Presentation on theme: "Why school climate is important Setting the stage for Students on Board conversations Prepared by Center for Public Education National School Boards Association."— Presentation transcript:
Why school climate is important Setting the stage for Students on Board conversations Prepared by Center for Public Education National School Boards Association August 2011
A safe and welcoming learning climate is a prerequisite to high student achievement. School districts need to understand climate issues, conduct assessments, pass policies, and take steps to make improvement where necessary. -- Brian K. Perkins The CUBE Survey of Urban School Climate
Early warning signs of dropping out - it’s both academic and social Academic performance failing grades in English or math sharp decline in grades falling behind in credits in 9 th grade retained in grade School engagement poor attendance (80% or worse) failing “behavior” grades in 6 th grade 3 SOURCE: Center for Public Education, Keeping Kids in School, 2009,
Indicators that contribute to a good school climate Schools are well-attended by students & teachers Students feel protected and not bullied Out-of-school suspensions are minimal
Attendance and learning Students who miss a lot of school are more likely to earn low grades and test scores Schools with high student absenteeism are more likely to have low student achievement High teacher absenteeism also relates to lower student achievement SOURCES: Roby, Research on School Attendance & Student Achievement, Education Research Quarterly, 2003; Gottfried, Evaluating the Relationship Between Student Attendance and Achievement, AERA, 2010; Miller et al., Do Teacher Absences Impact Student Achievement? NBER, 2007
1 in 5 middle schoolers miss 3 or more days of school a month SOURCE: IES, Condition of Education, Percent of 8 th graders reporting missing 3 or more days the previous month, 2005 Percent of students responding by race
1 in 20 teens miss school because they do not feel safe there SOURCE: IES, Indicators of School Crime and Safety, Percent of students aged reporting missing school in previous month because they did feel safe there.
How safe do students think their schools are? SOURCE: percent who agree/strongly agree with statement. Brian K. Perkins, Where We Learn, NSBA, Council of Urban Boards of Education, 2006 Half of all students say there’s a lot of fighting in their school Half of all students witness children being bullied at least once a month Only one third of students believe teachers are able to stop bullying
Fewer students today report feeling afraid than a decade ago SOURCE: NCES, US Dept of Education, Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2009, Table 17.1
Bullying is one of the most pervasive discipline problems One-third of students aged report being bullied at school The most common form of bullying is verbal, either through insults, ridicule or being the subject of rumors 11% of students report being pushed, tripped or spit on, and 6% have been threatened with harm SOURCE: NCES, US Dept of Education, Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2010, Figures 11.1 and 11.2
Bullying obstructs learning Bullied middle schoolers can see their GPA decline as much 1.5 points Students who are harassed by their peers are less likely to feel connected to school and more likely to earn poor grades SOURCES: Juvonen, Bullying and Violence as Barriers to Achievement, 2009; Eisenberg et al., Peer Harassment, School Connectedness, and Academic Achievement, Journal of School Health, 2003
LGBT students feel being bullied or harassed the most SOURCE: Kosciw et al, The 2009 National School Climate Survey, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, 2010
If we are going to stem the tide in student bullying, it will not be because of mandates from above, but rather because local school board members have drawn out students’ voices, creating conditions for them to analyze root causes and generate solutions that work. -- Mary Broderick NSBA president,
The effect of suspensions on students Students who have been suspended are far more likely to repeat a grade or drop out altogether Half of students who were disciplined 11 or more times end up in the juvenile justice system SOURCE: Fabelo et al, Breaking Schools’ Rules, The Council of State Governments/Public Policy Research Institute, July 2011
The effect of suspensions on schools Schools with high suspension and expulsion rates tend to have low school wide achievement. Demographically similar schools with strong school- community partnerships and governance have lower rates of suspensions and expulsions AND higher achievement. SOURCE: Rausch & Skiba, The Academic Cost of Discipline, Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, Indiana University, 2006
Black students are more likely to be suspended than their peers SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, Percent of students who were suspended during school year. percentages
Black students are disproportionately represented in out-of-school suspensions SOURCE: Fabelo et al, Breaking Schools’ Rules, The Council of State Governments/Public Policy Research Institute, July 2011 Percent referred for disciplinary action Percent of these whose 1 st referral was for a code of conduct violation Percent of 1 st referrals resulting in out-of-school suspension Black White Hispanic
Why the discrepancy? To date, researchers have found no evidence that black students commit more serious offenses than other groups Some researchers suggest black students are referred for more “subjective” reasons SOURCE: Rausch & Skiba, The Academic Cost of Discipline, Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, Indiana University, 2006; Fabelo et al, Breaking Schools’ Rules, The Council of State Governments/Public Policy Research Institute, July 2011
How is your school climate? Ask the students The large majority of students say they enjoy learning, trust their teachers, and like coming to school. But enough students don’t feel this way to cause concern: One third of all students say they don’t believe teachers are fair to everyone; black students were more likely to feel this way One third aren’t sure if their teachers care about their success SOURCE: Brian K. Perkins, Where We Learn, NSBA, Council of Urban Boards of Education, 2006
Students cannot learn in chaos, fear, or embarrassment …. If you really want to know what people feel about their schools, ask them. -- The Key Work of School Boards
Get the conversation going What is school like for you? Do you feel safe at school? Have you seen someone bullied? Is this common or rare? Did another student or teacher try to stop it? Do you feel respected by teachers and staff? Do they care if you’re successful?
If you were the school board, what would be one thing you would do to improve the school?
Moving forward Use your data. Include a school climate assessment as part of your annual district evaluation Establish an early warning data system to identify students who may be in danger of dropping out Encourage stakeholder involvement in ongoing discussions. Don’t forget students! Establish clear policies to create a positive school climate Adapted from Perkins, Where We Learn, 2006, and Keeping Kids in School, Center for Public Education, 2009.
Learn more about school climate policies and practices that work