The School Climate Community Scale and the School-Community Partnership Process

It really does take the “whole village” to support the whole child! There is a robust body of educational, sociological and socio-economic research that supports the notion that student learning and positive youth development are positively shaped not only by effective school-family partnerships but also by the social networks and norms of the larger community and engaged and collaborative school-community.

Mobilizing the “whole village” to support the whole child has almost become a cliché. Many K-12 leaders talk about it but few know how to and/or have the time to take actions that will build meaningful and helpful school-community partnerships. Yet, there is a growing consensus that schools can't do the job alone, and that community support is critical.

NSCC’s Community Scale (Scale) and School-Community Partnership Process (Process) engages middle and high school students to take a leadership role taking a very short survey to fifteen sectors of the larger school community (from the faith based, local media and law enforcement to local political and other civic leaders, arts organizations and more) to ask them two sets of questions: (1) What is your perception of current school-community partnerships; and (2) to what extent would you be interested in learning about and actively supporting the schools improvement efforts?

The Scale can be accessed on-line and a Guide for Students as well as a Guide for Educators who supervise and support the process supports the Process. In addition, schools that elect to use these resources to build helpful school-community partnership that support your school or districts improvement goals, will have access to a series of short videos about the process by students and an educator.

View one or more of the following film clips that includes students and/or an educator talking about various aspects of this student led School-Community Partnership Process:

Participating in the Community Scale Project

In this video, two students from Westbrook High School share what motivated them to participate in the Community Scale Project. One student discusses how she was eager to share her school's successes with community members and help them to learn more about the school. The other student talks about how the students all managed to make time for the project when juggling all their other commitments.

Preparing to Administer the Survey

In this video, two students from Westbrook High School share how they prepared to administer the survey to community members. They made sure that they knew the survey inside and out and held mock interviews with their teacher to ensure that they were adequately prepared to answer any questions community members had. In order to ensure that community members had time to take the survey, the students made appointments to meet with them ahead of time.

Sharing the Findings

In this video, three students from Westbrook High School share what it was like to see the data and share it with community members. They discuss how it was interesting to see what areas of school climate their school needs to improve upon from community members' perspectives. They believe that news and media significantly affects community members' perception of their school's school climate. They share how they hope to, as a group, pull the community organizations together to work collaboratively to improve the living and working environment for everyone.

Working with Students

In this video, the Project Coordinator for the Westbrook High School Community Scale project shares about his experience working with the students, the school, and community members. He found that his school's superintendent and the National School Climate Center were very supportive of the project. He learned that video clips are really useful learning tools and would be particularly useful for this project. He shares how important it is for the Project Coordinator to recruit students for the project who are really invested in it and will really dedicate their time and energy to doing it right. He also discusses how this community-school interaction is unique in that in it students are not asking for something from community members but instead are building relationships and learning from community members.

Schools that elect to use the Community Scale and the student led School-Community Process will also have access to the following video tapes:

  • Mapping the Community
  • Community Scale Project Challenges
  • Administering the Survey
  • Entering the Survey Data
  • Understanding the Data
  • Guiding Students through the Project
  • Students' Strengths and Challenges
  • Administration of Surveys to Community Members: Practical Guidelines