Understanding School Environments with the School Climate and Connectedness Survey
Kami Moore, School Climate and Connectedness Coordinator with Lauren Havens, Data and Evaluation Coordinator
Each year, the majority of Alaska school districts collect and use school climate data to improve and strengthen school environments, relationships, and connections between students, staff, & families.
One Alaskan school district team looked at their students’ responses and saw that 40% of their students said they would not be missed if they were absent from school. That sparked a discussion amongst school staff. The first part of the discussion was disbelief by many school staff. “There must be something wrong with the data.” “How could students actually believe that we did not care if they showed up to school?” Conversations with students confirmed that many students felt very alone – hard to understand with so many dedicated teachers in the school.
The team decided they needed to develop strategies to change this perception. They made a list to be sure every student had two key staff they already had a relationship with. When coming up with this list, the staff realized there were students who did not have a strong relationship with any staff, and these students became a priority. Specific staff would greet them every day and make sure they had one, non-directive, positive conversation(s) with a school adult. Key school staff would explicitly say to students, “we missed you yesterday when you were gone and we are glad you are here today.”
The school introduced other school-wide strategies to build relationships and improve climate. Working together, school staff were able to change the perceptions of students and reaffirm their commitment to relationship-building.
The School Climate and Connectedness Survey is a national recognized and research-based survey that collects valid and reliable perception data to better understand students’ experiences at school. A positive school climate is linked to student and family engagement, academic achievement, and staff retention. By identifying areas of strength and opportunities to improve, you can implement more targeted strategies to build connection and positive climates. In addition, the survey allows you to hear directly from students, families, and staff – ensuring your district is responding to the needs and priorities of your community.
- Approved School Climate Survey of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments.
- Measures student, staff and family perceptions about their experiences with the school
- Panorama online platform allows you to review data trends over time, compare school and district results to statewide data, urban or rural results, and your school type (elementary, middle, high school or pre/k-12), and break down responses by different group characteristics.
- Participating districts receive ongoing technical assistance including webinars, 1:1 support, staff and board workshops, and survey proctor guides.