Working at the NWESD I understand that all of our positions support effective school improvement. I just learned that OSPI and the Office of System and School Improvement’s (OSSI) theme for September is School Climate. The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments describes school climate as “a broad, multifaceted concept that involves many aspects of the student’s educational experience.”1 I am learning through the lens of school improvement that in order to make school climate improvements in your school, you first need to have measurable data for your current school climate from students, staff, and families.
The collection of this amount of data may seem overwhelming, but there are resources available to you. These resources range from your school’s Report Card data through OSPI, School Climate surveys offered through various organizations, and the School Improvement Team at the Northwest Educational Service District.
Attendance data can give you a quick snapshot about your school climate as “research has shown that positive school climate is tied to high or improving attendance rates”1. Through the OSPI Report card2 site you can find attendance data for your school, including overall attendance rate, trend data to see how attendance has changed over the last several years, attendance by grade, student demographics, and student program. This specific attendance data may help as you determine next steps for a particular student group.
The U.S. Department of Education’s School Climate Surveys and Reports1 site has a collection of resources depending on the needs for your school. The U.S. Department of Education developed School Climate Surveys and an associated web-based platform. You may be interested in using the full functionality of the site, but you may also be interested in using the survey questions3 (downloadable and free of charge) to use in a Google Form, Microsoft Form, or other survey tool you have available for your school. Similarly, you may choose to use The Center for Educational Effectiveness4 or Panorama Education5 perception survey questions or web-based platforms.
Alternatively, you could reach out to my co-worker, Amy Colburn at the Northwest Educational Service District to receive specific support on collecting and analyzing school climate data for your school. This support could take many different forms, but one is having Amy develop a survey in partnership with you where Amy keeps track of the data and provides you with an analysis of the responses to use to guide your next steps. Schools that have been identified for improvement can take advantage of this support at no cost, all other schools and or districts would require a minimal fee.
For more information please email Amy Colburn, NWESD Technology & Science Coordinator.