Measuring and improving school climate: A strategy that recognizes, honors and promotes social, emotional and civic learning The foundation for love, work and engaged citizenry
by Jonathan Cohen, Arnold Fege & Terry Pickeral - June 25, 2009
n this commentary, the authors call upon educational leaders to think broadly and anew about the responsibility that the federal as well as State Departments of Education have for the well being of children and families. The authors detail six recommendations that will help to close the current gap between school climate research, policy, practice guidelines, and teacher education: (1) Define school climate in ways that are aligned with recent research; (2) Recommend that schools routinely and comprehensively evaluate school climate, recognizing student, parent and school personnel “voice” as well as all of the major dimensions (e.g. safety, relationships, teaching and learning and the environment) that shape school climate; (3) Adopt standards for positive school climate as well as school climate assessment procedures; (4) Use school climate assessment as a measure of accountability; (5) Encourage teacher preparation programs that give teachers and administrators the tools to evaluate classroom, school climate and take steps to use these findings to promote a climate for learning in our schools; and, (6) Increase research on the evaluation and dissemination of resources focused on improving school climate.
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