DE-PBS Partners

Center for Disabilities Studies
Delaware Department of Education

Importance of School Climate

“School climate is the heart and soul of a school. It is about that essence of a school that leads a child, a teacher, an administrator, a staff member to love the school and to look forward to being there each school day. School climate is about that quality of a school that helps each individual feel personal worth, dignity and importance, while simultaneously helping create a sense of belonging to something beyond ourselves. The climate of a school can foster resilience or become a risk factor in the lives of people who work and learn in a place called school.” (Freiberg & Stein, 1999, p. 11)

Freiberg, H. J. & Stein, T.A. (1999). School Climate: Measuring, improving and sustaining healthy learning environments. New York: Routledge Falmer.

The Delaware School Climate Surveys are designed to provide schools with a brief, useful measure of school climate.  The surveys assess a critical aspect of school climate – how students, teachers/staff, and parents perceive the school environment.  They measure perceptions of relationships among the school community members (e.g., teacher-student relationships, teacher-parent relationships, and student relationships), school safety, and fairness and clarity of rules and behavioral expectations. The surveys include a supplemental scale to measure positive and punitive disciplinary techniques and techniques targeting social-emotional competencies.

School Climate is linked to a wide range of academic, behavioral, and socio-emotional outcomes for students:

•Academic achievement
•Student academic, social, and personal attitudes and motives
•Attendance and school avoidance
•Behavior problems, delinquency, victimization
•Emotional well-being