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The Challenge of Assessing School Climate

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on December 01, 2008

This month, ASCD's Educational Leadership focused two pieces on the importance of school climate measurement. Below is an excerpt from a piece I wrote along with Terry Pickeral (ECS) and Molly McCloskey (ASCD) that's now available for you to read for free online. Think about how you feel right now as you read these words. Are you distracted? Worried? Sad? To the extent that this is the case, these feelings would naturally affect your ability to concentrate, reflect, and make judgments about what you're reading. And you're an adult with well-developed coping and concentration strategies! Common sense tells us that students who feel safe, connected, and engaged in school are more likely to learn well. In the last 30 years, a growing body of research has confirmed the importance of the learning climate for children and adolescents. Compelling empirical research shows that a positive and sustained school climate promotes students' academic achievement and healthy development. Not surprisingly, a positive school climate also promotes teacher retention, which itself enhances student success (Center for Social and Emotional Education, 2007; Cohen, McCabe, Michelli, & Pickeral, in press; Zins, Weissberg, Wang, & Walberg, 2004). . .

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