School Climate and Children’s Health

Students with Low Levels of School Connectedness, by Race/Ethnicity, 2013-2015

Image of Graph for School Connectedness

A positive school climate is an important factor that defines effective schools. When school climate is positive, students are more likely to succeed academically and engage in healthy behaviors. A key measure of school climate is level of school connectedness, which takes into account if students feel happy, safe, close to people, and a part of school, and that teachers treat them fairly.

Improving school climate is a promising strategy to narrow achievement gaps among groups of students. However, student groups experience school climate differently. For example, in California, higher percentages of African American/Black and American Indian/Alaskan Native students report low levels of school connectedness in 2013-2015 (15% and 14%, respectively) compared with Asian and White students (both 8%). In addition to race/ethnicity, gaps also exist by parent education level and sexual orientation. By creating an inclusive, safe, and academically challenging school climate and utilizing targeted interventions for some groups, we can expect improved academic and health outcomes for all students.

California law now requires school districts to address school climate as part of the Local Control and Accountability Plans. Learn more about policy and practice recommendations to nurture a strong school climate.

This data release is a part of Kidsdata’s Youth in Schools series. In partnership with WestEd, we are featuring data from the California Department of Education’s California Healthy Kids Survey.

Data in Action

See Kidsdata at the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) conference in Sacramento on September 25th where we will discuss identifying inequity to target interventions.

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