New Year, New Look

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024

Enhanced survey, expanded offerings!

2024 is here, and this means big things for The National School Climate Center.  In major news, our school climate survey, the CSCI (Comprehensive School Climate Inventory), is revamped and rejuvenated for the 2023-24 academic year, with an expanded focus on equity and student-centered areas of analyses.  We are also excited to add new supports around school climate to help your school and district identify and meet your school climate goals.

Here are some exciting updates for 2024 to support your work:

We all recognize the crucial role that school climate plays in shaping the educational experience and fostering safe, engaging, inclusive, and equitable environments in your school community. The average CSCI completion rate for students is over 95%, which is just one reason so many schools and districts choose to use the CSCI year over year. Understanding this, we have dedicated ourselves to enhancing the CSCI and other offerings to better capture the diversity, nuances, and dimensions of school climate.

  1. New Platform: Over the past year, The National School Climate Center (NSCC) has worked in partnership with Resonant Education, a leading survey provider, to develop a survey platform for survey that best captures non-academic related strengths and challenges within a school community. With the CSCI now powered by Resonant Education, all students, staff, and parents/families/caregivers will to a more user-friendly experience using the online or mobile versions. 
  2. New Reporting: The CSCI provides a robust set of reporting information, including: an overall summary of school climate scores; clear score sheets for each domain, with the ability to review data based on the mean, median, and distribution of responses; the capacity to explore subgroup responses within the school population; and real-time response rates to enable targeted approaches to students, staff, or families to complete the survey.
  3. Dimension Renaming and Item Refinement: To ensure precision and relevance, we’ve renamed and defined our school climate dimensions and reworded survey items. These adjustments aim to provide even more validity and accurate reflection of the school climate, aligning with the latest educational standards and practices, while ensuring each dimension and item is measuring the concept of perception it was intended to measure.
  4. Social Inclusion Dimension: In collaboration with Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools, we’ve developed a specialized social inclusion scale within the CSCI. This addition amplifies our focus on fostering a more inclusive environment within educational settings, particularly for students with disabilities.
  5. Equity and Inclusion Lens: Our revised survey now incorporates more of an equity and inclusion lens. This intentional approach allowed us to address and evaluate critical factors contributing to a fair and supportive educational landscape for all, while reducing bias implicit in some of the previous items. While this is an area we will continue to revisit, we still believe the best way to address issues of equity and inclusion is to use the demographic information provided by responses to the CSCI to draw comparisons across subgroups.
  6. Expanded Demographics: We also offer schools the opportunity to collect more comprehensive demographic information from students, staff, and families. This includes optional responses around disability, race/ethnicity, religion, and more. Including these questions allows students to reflect their identities in their responses. Research shows that many students from historically marginalized communities, such as students with disabilities, students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and those from marginalized religions face unique challenges, including victimization and feelings of disconnection in school settings. Therefore, we have included these specific items in the CSCI to help you gather valuable insights that can identify areas for improvement and develop targeted interventions to support these students. If you have any questions, please contact us. We remain committed to working collaboratively with schools to create tools that best center their students and serve their objectives while maintaining sensitivity to the needs and comfort levels of all school communities.
  7. Consolidated Bullying Survey and Bullying Survey Addendum: Bullying is a major consequence of and contributor to a negative school climate. For many schools and districts, constant incidents of bullying behavior are the first or most prominent indication that something more serious may be going on at school. To that end, we developed a tool that is more focused on assessing the extent to which bullying behaviors occur frequently at school based on the experiences and perceptions of students. For this reason, we offer a bullying survey as a stand alone as well as an add-on to the CSCI.  While you can use this tool on its own, we believe that you will find it more useful if you understand it in context of the broader school climate data in the CSCI.
  8. Unified Surveys: We’ve consolidated the elementary and middle/high school surveys into one comprehensive tool. This unified approach allows for a more readable version of the survey and a holistic understanding of the entire school spectrum, facilitating better insights and more robust assessments at the district level, while reducing survey burden within districts and across K-8 and K-12 schools.
  9. 5×5 School Climate Improvement Process: NSCC frames our work around our 5×5 Comprehensive School Climate Process using NSCC’s 5-Stage Improvement Cycle with our research-backed 5 Domains of School Climate, measured in our Comprehensive School Climate Inventory (CSCI).  This process is a cyclical and multi-pronged process that brings schools through the journey of exploring, collecting, and actualizing school climate data through professional development sessions aimed at understanding school climate, improving data, coaching school climate leadership teams, and providing data-in-action workshops to better understand and create action steps based on the data collected in the CSCI.
  10. Communities of Courage: A student-centric school climate initiative aimed at reducing bullying by engaging students as leaders, amplifying their voices in their communities and training educators on deepening community and bullying prevention.  Communities of Courage takes data collection to the next level by guiding students in team building, data analysis, collaborative youth summits, and action planning to take action in the face of bullying and other opportunities to improve their school climate.

By participating in the newly enhanced CSCI and Bullying Survey Addendum, coupled with our 5X5 School Climate Improvement Process, we can work with your school and district to identify more tailored strategies and interventions for improving school climate. Most importantly, the sooner we engage with these tools, the more effective our collective efforts are in addressing pertinent issues and implementing proactive measures. We look forward to working with you to drive positive change in your school community and beyond.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or require further information regarding the CSCI. Thank you for your continued partnership in creating safer and more inclusive school environments for all students.

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