positive school climate

A study published in the Review of Educational Research Tuesday suggests that school climate is something educators and communities should prioritize — especially as a way to bridge the elusive achievement gap. The authors analyzed more than 15 years’ of research on schools worldwide, and found that positive school climate had a significant impact on academics.

And here’s the biggest takeaway: There’s no link between school climate and socioeconomic status. In other words, there are plenty of happy schools in low-income neighborhoods, too.

“Obviously you need to have a great math teacher that can teach math, but those social and emotional connections really help in the academic area too,” says Ron Avi Astor, a professor at the University of Southern California and a co-author of the study. “That creates a lot of opportunities for the low-income schools,” by giving reformers more tools to think about, he says.

How A Happy School Can Help Students Succeed

Illustration: LA Johnson/NPR

omgcqm  asked:

As a educated voting black parent and grandparent what are suggestions of actions I can take to change the tide?

As a parent and grandparent you’re the best advocate that your children have, along with their teachers, in making the school disciplinary system more fair and less biased. You should get involved in policymaking at your children’s school—look at their code of conduct and suggest changes to the school administrators. And, if your school district has them, get involved in school board elections. As important as national elections are, getting involved in local races can be one of the most impactful ways you can change school policies on issues like the school-to-prison pipeline. Volunteer, give out literature on important issues in the race, and even considering running yourself.

There’s also plenty that you can do online and offline to raise awareness and take action on specific issues at your grandchildren’s school. While more and more and more people are talking about the school-to-prison pipeline and implicit bias in school, it’s crucial that we take collective action to hold institutions responsible and spur broader change. For example, my organization, Color Of Change, ran a petition calling for prosecuting a school police officer who beat a Black girl in school last year, and we also have the OrganizeFor platform that lets you or anyone else start a petition and start making the change we all need to see in schools. When parents like you, students like your grandchildren, and others in our communities join together in making concrete demands of decision makers in schools and law enforcement, we gain power and a voice to change the written and unwritten rules that keep the school-to-prison pipeline in place.

Since you mentioned voting, don’t overlook the importance of your local school board. Many school boards are elected and they have great responsibility for shaping the priorities of the school system and ensuring that reforms are implemented. Elected or not, you can ask these leaders to take a stand against the school-to-prison pipeline. If it doesn’t already, ask your school district to publish discipline data and other information that can help you evaluate how your schools are doing.  It’s important that this data give enough information to identify racial and other disparities in discipline. You can ask for other information, too, like your school or school district policies on police in schools, and what programs your school district is implementing to create a positive school climate. Advocate for family and community involvement in reviewing and reforming policies and practices related to the school-to-prison pipeline.  Check out the Dignity in Schools Campaign for helpful resources like a model school code of conduct and to connect with members, including many parents and grandparents like you, who have been doing this work in their communities.