One Voice Illinois

Essence of ESSA: School Climate and Culture

Today’s guest post comes from the Real Learning for Real Life coalition, of which Illinois PTA is a member. The coalition helps families and communities understand how our education system is changing to provide the children of Illinois the best education possible. The article looks at the difference and importance of school climate and culture under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), something Illinois will be using in its school accountability measure and has reported on the Illinois school report card through the 5Essentials survey. Look for additional information on this topic from Illinois PTA and Real Learning for Real Life throughout the month on social media.

Happy New Year! We are excited to kick off 2018 by continuing our dive into the many important parts of Illinois’s new plan that evaluates the quality of schools, reports on their progress, and supports them if needed—it’s the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ​

​Last month, we learned the difference between growth and proficiency and why both are important when we evaluate, support, and report on students, schools, and districts.

​This month, we will be taking a more in-depth look at school climate and culture. School climate and culture can often times feel difficult to define, but more and more studies show that when schools have a strong climate and culture, students are more likely to succeed.

A strong climate and culture at school will help students:

This is why school climate and culture is included in ESSA and why it’s so important that we understand how to create a strong, healthy, and positive climate and culture.​

​Making It Simple!​

One easy way to understand school climate and culture is to think about school culture as the thermostat and school climate as the thermometer. School culture is made up of the norms, beliefs, and practices that can set the tone for a school community, much like a thermostat sets a temperature. School climate is how it feels to be in that school and reflects the culture, much like a thermometer tells you how a room actually feels. For more real-life examples on school climate and culture visit our Real Learning for Real Life website at reallearningil.org/essa-glossary.