measuring school climate

When Measuring School Climate, Context Is Key

As states finalize new school accountability plans under ESSA, measures of school climate have received increasing attention. Many states have included school climate as a “non-academic” indicator of school quality in their recently drafted plans. Meanwhile, groups of educators and students in states from California to Massachusetts have advocated for better approaches to measuring school climate.

While the benefits of a positive school climate have been known for decades–increases in students’ academic achievement, fewer disciplinary incidents, and even improved teacher retention–less is known about the implications of measuring and reporting on school climate in the years ahead.

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How Do You Define a “Peer” School?

Last year, we introduced Panorama’s Benchmarks to add greater context to your perception data. Today, we’re excited to launch a key addition to this feature: Peer Benchmarks.

With Peer Benchmarks, you can interact with our national dataset to make relevant comparisons that reflect your school’s context. By selecting from several school-level characteristics, such as urban middle schools with high percentage of students receiving free and reduced priced lunch, the benchmarks distribution graph will instantly adjust to display survey results from schools that reflect these criteria.

As this feature has been several months in the making, we wanted to share our lessons learned from the analytics and design process that created Peer Benchmarks.

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social-emotional learning data

How to Share Social-Emotional Learning Data with Students

In our work with schools and districts, Panorama supports educators in using social-emotional learning (SEL) surveys to better understand the strengths and needs of their students. Many districts use social-emotional learning data for district- and school-wide data inquiry and continuous improvement processes and to set targeted goals around social-emotional learning growth.

Increasingly, we’re finding that school leaders and teachers are interested in sharing this SEL data directly with students. Discussing SEL data with students promotes a deeper understanding of what is measured, what these SEL skills mean, and what students can do to improve. Drawing from our work with school districts nationwide, we’ve created a brief guide for sharing SEL data with students.

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Explore Open Circle Resources in Playbook

For three decades, Open Circle has helped teachers, counselors, and principals in elementary schools develop students’ social and emotional skills and create school communities that are safe, welcoming, and engaging for everyone. Now, teachers can explore classroom strategies from Open Circle in Playbook, Panorama’s professional learning community for teachers. The Open Circle resources now available in Playbook align with Panorama’s measures of social-emotional learning, including grit, growth mindset, social awareness, and self-management.

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What Does Grit Mean to Fourth Graders?

At Carolina Voyager Charter School, a K-4 school in Charleston, South Carolina, grit was the theme of the month in October. Even after October, students at Carolina Voyager are still excited to talk about grit. We asked students what focusing on grit means for them, for their peers, and their school. One fourth-grade student shared, “To me, grit means never give up, never be distracted from your goals, and stay focused.”

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Mindset Man Shares Growth Mindset Message

Superhero Mindset Man Sparks Enthusiasm for Growth Mindset by Michael Wilson was originally published on Getting Smart. Assistant Principal Wilson, from West Woods Upper Elementary School in Farmington, CT, shares the story of Mindset Man, a character who inspires students to learn from mistakes and to keep working even when learning feels hard. Watch the video about growth mindset at Farmington Public Schools to hear students talk about what it means for their learning environment for students, teachers, and administrators to embrace growth mindset.

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