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Why Is School Climate So Important

Many things go into creating the ideal environment for teachers to do their best work and for students to learn the best they can. This creates the ideal climate at school that matters for every person who is a part of the system, from the school administrators to the teachers, parents, and learners alike. But what makes a classroom the ideal climate and what detracts from a productive and safe environment? Let’s dig into the more profound importance of an educational climate. 

What is school climate?

A school climate, according to the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, “describes school conditions that influence student learning.” The modern world of education isn’t what it used to be, with students learning in many environments. As a result, schools have many different demographics of learners, and students learn both in person and remotely. 

The concept envelops many elements that ultimately impact learners’ ability to participate in their educational process. School climate values exist in every academic institution, from K-12 to higher education. It’s an element of social-emotional learning that may require professional development to curate on the part of leaders within the high school, elementary school, or college campus. 

A positive school climate involves the teachers and students and may also incorporate the family unit.  While school culture may impact its environment, the two concepts are not equivalent. INcompassing Education breaks down the differences: 

  • School climate: This is a school’s impact on a student, including the amount of diversity at the institution, particular teaching practices, and the relationship between those involved with the education process. 
  • School culture: Leaders can address their culture by looking at shared values and beliefs that are encouraged at schools. 

A school’s climate influences the quality of education a student receives at the institution, so it’s essential for a teacher to evaluate. Working towards a positive environment will impact the learners and teachers in a meaningful way. 

Measuring a school’s climate

The first step to improving school climate is understanding where it stands. The National School Climate Center has a specific method for measuring a school’s environment. The Comprehensive School Climate Inventory (CSCI) looks at “school personnel perceptions to get the data you need to make informed decisions for lasting improvement.”

Without using the survey, a school leader or teacher needs to talk to administrators, teachers, and students to discover what the environment is like. The goal is to facilitate learning and safety, so there needs to be a comprehensive understanding of elements that may be contributing to a poor school climate.

Measuring school climate can be difficult because of its ambiguous nature. Frontier Psychology also mentions that perspective is essential because “each group may perceive school climate differently.” 

With this in mind, school climate data can be beneficial in finding a programmatic way to improve. Leaders should consistently measure their school’s climate to understand the tactics’ effectiveness. Safe Supportive Learning has a school climate survey compendium that can be an excellent resource for leaders. 

How do you improve your school’s climate?

Once the leaders in a school system understand what needs to be fixed or improved upon, the next step is to find actionable ways to elevate the climate. Here are some of the best ways to continuously improve the school climate long-term. 

Be open to feedback

When the school leaders, like principals, remain visible and open to feedback, students, teachers, and parents can voice their concerns more fully. This kind of communication is even more critical for schools that rely on remote learning strategies.  

Find the most critical data. 

Implementing and using survey data is one of the most important things leaders can do to begin working toward a better school climate.  The U.S. Department of Education did a free survey to collect this information. Be mindful of how the survey pertains to your particular school and situation and feel free to tailor any survey to fit better. 


Work as a team

The more people involved, the better for creating a better school climate, so get the school community together. Distribution of leadership across the educational environment is crucial for widespread and sustainable change. It’s essential to make a school that lends itself to boosted learning. Every person, from the teachers to the school psychologists, should be aware of and contribute to the long-term school climate improvement goals. 

Characteristics of a positive environment

As the team works to improve the school climate, keeping an eye out for indicators of a positive school environment is valuable. Safe Supportive Learning suggests that some of these essential items include: 

  1. Student engagement: Take into account cultural competence, relationships, and school participation.
  2. Safety: This includes emotional security, physical safety, and watching out for potential substance abuse issues.
  3. Environment: The physical and instructional environment will contribute to overall physical and mental health. 

If one of these main factors isn’t as strong as it could be, consider what could prevent positive growth. Engagement, school safety, and environmental factors all overlap and impact each other in one way or another. So don’t look at these components individually; keep the larger picture or goal in mind. 

Best practices vary from school to school because each institution is different. Regardless, leaders must enact change and get their school staff on board to improve academic performance and student achievement through collaborative leadership.  

Schools often need tools to boost their climate, and Agile Education Marketing can help you identify what these needs are with education data, integrations, and other services. Are you ready to learn more? Reach out to Agile today to get started! 

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