Site URL: www.schoolclimate.org
Content: This site covers all the bases with regard to school climate. The National School Climate Center features high-quality, research-based information, even including a detailed set of national school climate standards that spell out best practices. Rounding out the mix of resources are a diagram explaining the five steps in the school-climate improvement process, descriptions of 15 available workshops, school case studies and a few choice video clips from experts. The site prominently promotes the Center’s Summer Institute, a multi-day professional development opportunity held every year in New York City.
The Center even generalizes lessons learned in schools by applying them to the parenting/home domain. A rare online find, the research-based guide for parents titled Creating a Safe and Caring Home raises the bar for parent content, which tends to be more simplistic elsewhere on the Web.
Design: The design is simple, clean and easy to navigate, including drop-down menus that allow the user to explore topics such as the Center’s programs and services, a primer on school climate, and implementation guidelines for the school-climate improvement process.
Review: Although the site features a lot of self-promotion (large “house ads” dominate the top of the home page) and multiple links to the same content, this does allow the user to access information from multiple locations and learn about professional development opportunities. (On-site training and consultation are available at a rate of $2,000 per day plus trainer travel costs).
Users are encouraged to sign up for the Center’s free newsletter, School Climate Matters, and there is plenty of additional information available for free (such as the School Climate District Guide, which can be downloaded). Some longer resources (i.e., the School Climate Implementation Roadmap and a bullying prevention toolkit) must be purchased, however.
Likewise, users can learn about the process of assessing school climate (including the 12 relevant dimensions of climate that need to be tapped), but a school or district would need a few thousand in funding in order to administer the Comprehensive School Climate Inventory (CSCI), the Center’s proprietary instrument that has demonstrated reliability and validity. The instrument is administered to students, educators and parents online and produces a detailed, actionable report that is one of the most thorough in the industry. As one might expect, site users can view only a few sample items from the CSCI.
Bottom Line: As the authoritative voice on all things school climate, the site is definitely one for educators to bookmark. You’ll find all the basics here and can begin to plan your school, district’s or state’s next steps. Just keep in mind that to go deep into the process, you may need to write a grant or two.