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ESSENTIAL COMPONENTS OF SPL - School Climate and Culture

atom redSchool Climate and Culture

People in any healthy organization must have agreement on how to do things and what is worth doing. School culture is the reality of what organizational members care about, what they are willing to spend time doing, what and how they celebrate, and what they talk about. Therefore, a positive school culture provides the foundation on which all instruction occurs and all students are engaged in learning.  The core principles of the SPL framework embrace the impact of school culture upon student learning, and support the process of self-assessment. Tools are available to classify the type of culture existing in a school. Towards the goal of creating more positive school cultures, SPL also encourages self-assessment of school climate. It acknowledges the value in identifying relative areas of strength and need within each school setting.

Positive school climate consists of three primary domains, each consisting of corresponding subdomains (in italics) as follows:

  • Engagement – the quality of relationships, including respect for diversity, among students, staff and families; the level of school participation and involvement by families, staff and students in school activities; and efforts by schools to connect with the larger community.
  • Safety – the physical and emotional security of the school setting and school-related activities as perceived, experienced, and created by students, staff, families and the community. The use and trade of illicit substances in the school setting and during school-related activities also is included in this domain.
  • Environment – the physical and mental health supports available that promote student wellness, the physical condition of school facilities, the academic environment, and the disciplinary tone of the school – i.e., the fairness and adequacy of disciplinary procedures.

Understanding these domains of a positive school climate is vital. However, equally important in maintaining a positive school climate is the development of systems to support school personnel in implementing identified research-based practices to improve student outcomes.  Naturally, the identified practices to support student achievement and social competence are dependent on a clear understanding of the information and data available to decision makers.


School Climate and Culture Resources

  • West Virginia Safe & Supportive Schools
    March 2012 - Document
  • Implementation of Expected Elementary Behaviors within the WVSPL Framework
  • April 2012 - Document



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