Comprehensive School Climate Inventory (CSCI), 2016-2017
District 181 is committed to the school improvement process. Each year, principals and their staff work with District administrators to determine both academic and social-emotional learning (SEL) goals that will support and strengthen students' educational experiences. School improvement teams also identify strategies to reach those goals. Measuring school climate is one way to gather feedback about the learning environment and inform the type of SEL goals that will be targeted.
School climate is a broad term that refers to the quality and character of the learning environment. Student experiences in school impact their connection to the environment, the people in it, and ultimately their success as learners. Evaluating school climate is critical to school improvement planning because it allows us to monitor our progress, make data-driven decisions, engage stakeholders, and implement changes that reflect the needs of our school communities. More resources on school climate are available here.
Recognizing the importance of school climate and the need for measures and procedures to help schools identify and act on their needs, the State of Illinois passed Senate Bill 7 to formalize school surveys across the state and enhance public information about the schools by providing surveys of learning conditions. In 2012-13 and for the next three school years, District 181 had administered the Illinois 5Essentials Conditions for Learning Survey as a tool for gathering school climate data. Many districts requested alternative survey instruments, and in 2014-15, other options were identified. Beyond state requirements, the recently adopted federal education law Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) calls for one non-academic indicator in student assessment data.
The Comprehensive School Climate Survey (CSCI)
The CSCI is one of the alternate climate surveys that had been identified by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Our high school district, District 86, elected to use the CSCI two years ago. The District 181 SELAS Advisory Committee reviewed school climate surveys in 2014-15 and recommended to the Board of Education that the CSCI be used this year with our 4th-8th grade students, staff, and parents. The CSCI takes into account the perceptions of students, staff, and parents and measures five categories of school climate:
- Teaching and Learning
- Interpersonal Relationships
- Institutional Environment
- Professional Leadership and Relationships (for Staff only)
The 20-minute anonymous survey was administered to all 4th-8th grade students in December 2016, and the survey was available to all staff and parents December 5-16, 2016. Input from each of these groups is essential to the quality of the data. Parents were asked to complete one survey per household per school. Meaning, if a family has a 2nd grader and 4th grader in a D181 elementary school, and a 7th grader in a D181 middle school, the survey could have been completed once for the elementary school and once for the middle school. Sample surveys were available in each school office for preview, and parents could opt their child out of the survey by notifying the principal in writing prior to December 2.
The 20-minute anonymous survey was administered to all 4th-8th grade students at school between December 5-16, 2017. Parents and staff were asked to complete the survey online during that same window. Parents received an email with the survey link on December 5. Sample surveys were provided in each school office for preview. Parents were permitted to opt their child out of the survey by notifying the principal in writing prior to December 2.