What is School Climate & Culture?

Working towards improving your school climate and culture can sound like a daunting task. So all month we are talking about where to start, and how yoga and Social Emotional Learning programs can help get you there.

We have found that the first step to improving school climate and culture is to define it. Once everyone in your school community has a collective understanding of what school climate and culture are, you can begin to work towards strategic improvement.

What is Climate?

School Climate is the collective perception of how well a school provides suitable conditions for learning, for positive social, emotional, and character development, for all staff to grow professionally, and for parents, families, and community resources to become engaged in the school.

And what is Culture?

School Culture is the sum total of the behaviors and interactions of all adults and children, their attitude and norms, and the extent to which the school is safe, supportive, healthy, engaging, inspiring, and challenging for all.

Climate = collective perception

Culture = sum of all behaviors

Why are they important?

A study of 276 Virginia high schools found that a school climate characterized by lower rates of bullying and teasing was predictive of higher graduation rates four years later (Cornell, Gregory, Huang, & Fan, 2013).

A meta-analysis published in Child Development found that in schools intentionally implementing comprehensive and continuous social-emotional learning programs, students attitudes toward school and learning improved, they gained an average of over 10 points on standardized academic tests, and their problem behaviors, including violence, diminished.

Take some time this week to reflect on your school climate and culture. What is going well? What could be improved?