Using School Climate Responses for Planning and Professional Learning

Starting off the school year looking at the School Climate & Connectedness Survey responses can give a school and community team insight into how staff, students, and families feel about school safety, staff support, family partnerships, cultural connectedness, and more. This can provide insight on how to best address professional development needs and other steps for your district/ organization to take.

Below are 2021 staff responses on trauma engaged schools within our STEPS partner footprint:

While the majority of staff at STEPS schools feel supported to respond to trauma and have specific skills and strategies they can use to help students, over 50% still feel worn out in ways that interfere with other parts of their life. This is an important data point that tells us how much stress school staff may be able to handle within the school and outside. This information can help school districts to effectively tailor professional development and other staff support to address self-care for staff, tools for emotional emotional resilience, and system supports that might be needed.  Contact your school district to access information for your community. 

Using School Climate Survey Responses in a Data-to-Action Process

Looking at your SCCS results is just the first step to improving school climate and connectedness and making changes in your district so that all students have a school environment that supports effective learning. SCCS results can serve as a conversation starter, but it is important to go a step further and engage stakeholder groups to make sense of the data. 

For example, hearing directly from respondents about why they think the results show what they do may provide a full picture of what is happening at school. 

As you identify interesting findings in your SCCS results, it’s important to set aside intentional time to talk about them with staff, students, and families to get their input. For example, you can bring SCCS data to a professional development session or staff meeting; give students the opportunity to engage and discuss during class time, at a dedicated workshop, or at club meetings; bring in families at community meetings, Back-To-School-Night, or a PTA meeting; and lastly, present your results to the school board and/or superintendent, making sure to incorporate feedback from all other stakeholders.

Using the Trauma-Engaged example from above, you might ask staff questions like:

  • Does this data reflect your own experience? How or how not?
  • Why do you think the data looks this way?
  • In what ways do you feel supported?
  • What have been the most impactful opportunities for learning about TES that you’ve experienced?
  • Why do you think you feel worn out/ what would help you to feel less worn out?
  • What would you like to see continue? What would you like to see change?

After you’ve fully engaged with the data and ensured that all stakeholders have had a chance to give input, the next step is using this understanding to make decisions and plan for improvements. As you continue to work with your staff to develop learning opportunities and action plans for the next year, bring in what you’ve learned from the SCCS results and set goals for improvements that may be measured on the survey next year. For example, staff may report that a particular professional development opportunity was very helpful, or that they would like more regular opportunities to discuss Trauma Engaged practices and receive peer support to feel less worn out. These could be built into the year’s schedule and the impact could be tracked using future survey results.

Resources and Next Steps

Did you know that AASB is available to support you in understanding your data and planning action? Included in your participation in the SCCS is one full day of support from AASB staff. If you haven’t already, fill out this survey to give us information about how AASB can support you to use your SCCS results.

For follow up with School Board Work Sessions, Staff Workshops & In-Services, Student workshops, and/ or Family & Community workshops reach out to Jenni Lefing, School Climate Coordinator or Lauren Havens, Data and Evaluation Coordinator.

The AASB website has more information about using Data for Impact and the Panorama website has toolkits and user guides to support that process as well.

Need access to your district’s results? Contact your district’s School Climate and Connectedness Survey Coordinator. If you’re not sure who that is, you can also reach out to AASB’s School Climate Coordinator, Jenni Lefing for support.