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Cascade Matters is the blog of Cascade Educational Consultants. Cascade has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations and civic development. We are committed to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens. Learn more about us.

Cascade Educational Consultants is an educational consulting firm committed to high-quality equitable teaching, learning and serving environments for all students to succeed in school and in life. Click here to learn more about our services...




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Climate Is Not Just About the Weather

As the summer season continues to sizzle in some areas and storms persist in others, the concept of climate seems to be only about the weather. As we all know, the weather is an uncontrollable variable. But what about a variable that is controllable and important to our nation, school climate?

I had the opportunity last week to be part of an institute at US Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools' The Power of Change: Healthy Students, Safe Schools and Engaged Communities Conference titled “Impact of School Climate on Academic Achievement.”

The focus was on the importance of school climate to positively impact student achievement and success. According to the National School Climate Council school climate refers to character and quality of school life.

It is based on patterns of people’s experience of school life and reflects:
• Norms, goals, values,
• Interpersonal relationships,
• Teaching, learning and
• Leadership practices, and
• Organizational structures.

The National School Council believes that a sustainable, positive school climate fosters youth development and learning necessary for a productive, contributing and satisfying life in a democratic society. This climate includes norms, values and expectations that support people feeling socially, emotionally and physically safe.
  • People are engaged and respected.
  • Students, families and educators work together to develop, live and contribute to a shared school vision.
  • Educators model and nurture an attitude that emphasizes the benefits and satisfaction from learning.
  • Each person contributes to the operations of the school and the care of the physical
    environment

Who would not want to be a part of a school climate that reflected the above characteristics. The good news is that, unlike many school circumstances and issues, we can all control the school climate. To do so however requires the courage to co-create a vision of what we want our school to value and model and then takes necessary steps to integrate and sustain corresponding policies, practices and accountability systems.
School climate should be as much the part of our school improvement efforts and accountability systems as curriculum, teaching and learning, collaboration and assessment. To learn more about the National School Climate Center visit the following web site http://nscc.csee.net/
To view my presentation,
please click here.
About the author: Terry Pickeral, president Cascade Educational Consultants has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations and civic development. His commitment is to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens.

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