New Report: Urban School Climate

Posted by on September 8, 2006

[posted from Public Education Network newsblast]


Students cannot learn well and are not likely to behave well in difficult school environments. Good student development and academic learning are inextricably linked. Students care about where they learn. They spend the better part of most days in class or on the playground, so they care very much about what it feels like to be at school. Is the school safe and clean? Can they trust their teachers? And do teachers believe in and respect them? These feelings influence how students feel about themselves — how confident they are, what they think of themselves as learners, and what kind of future they see. School climate is the learning environment created through the interaction of human relationships, physical setting, and psychological atmosphere. Researchers and educators agree that school climate influences students, teachers, and staff members and affects student achievement. Yet many school improvement initiatives primarily address school structure and procedures and virtually ignore school climate. These initiatives may be prompted by concern over inadequate scores on state tests or national assessments or driven by a desire to improve on an already positive performance. Despite this focus on academic achievement, however, factors embedded in a school?s functioning that directly influence performance may be overshadowed in these reform initiatives, finds a new report from the National School Boards Association’s Council of Urban Boards of Education.

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