A supportive, nurturing and safe environment is essential for students to achieve academic success and grow to become productive citizens. While research supports this assertion, a gap often exists between best practice, public policy and actual school climate. CASDA’s Climate, Culture and Community Service Team works to assist schools in developing a culture that reflects a rigorous scholastic mission while representing the diverse values, aspirations and ideals of the larger community.
The Climate, Culture and Community Team’s work is driven by inquiry and communication. Often, districts struggling with aspects of school climate have not identified a clear vision of a healthy school culture. Without first identifying goals, it is impossible to take action to build a better school environment. CASDA’s team can serve as a valuable facilitator in this process. Team co-chair Rebecca Gardner explains that “our mission is to help schools decide what they value in a culture and introduce research and action planning to help them realize this ideal.”
Inquiry and communication are essential to the clear articulation of a district’s values. The voices of teachers, staff, parents, students, the Board of Education and community at large must be represented thoroughly and attentively considered. Engaging these parties in rebuilding a school’s culture will ensure that the policies enacted reflect all of the diverse entities that are invested in the success of a school district. CASDA faculty members streamline this process of inquiry and communication, introduce relevant research and share practices of high-performing schools to galvanize progressive, measurable and sustainable improvement.
Once a clear vision for improvement has been formulated, CASDA can provide specific professional development workshops, and support the development of resources that build invaluable links between the school and community. Consultations to improve attendance through the careful examination of data can lead to lower grade retention and boost graduation rates. Training in school safety and crisis management enables administration, faculty and staff to react calmly during an emergency to protect students. Robust communication between the district and parents can be developed through Parent Centers. These unique resources provide parents with relevant information about school and community programs that support their child’s education.
Whether addressing family and community engagement, transforming extracurricular activities, offering enriching experiences or addressing social issues such as mental health, social media and bullying, CASDA can help districts create positive, sustainable change in their schools.
For more information visit our Climate, Culture and Community Services webpage.