Rhinebeck Schools Parents, Students, and Staff Asked to Provide Feedback on School Climate

The Rhinebeck Central School District, in partnership with the National School Climate Center (NSCC), is asking all Rhinebeck Central School District parents, students and school personnel to complete the Comprehensive School Climate Inventory (CSCI), which will be administered during the week of March 7-11, 2011.  Both online and paper versions will be available. The District will be communicating via email and letter to the parents of students regarding how to complete the survey.  The CSCI findings will be utilized by the District to build community, promote student participation, develop school-home-community partnerships and improve its collaborative plan for school improvement.
The National School Climate Center (NSCC), a non-profit organization, was founded in 1997 at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and works with schools and districts across the nation to support the development of healthy and positively engaged students. The (CSCI) is a research-based needs assessment developed by NSCC that will help the District measure and improve school climate, which includes the safety of our schools, the quality of teaching and learning, the quality of the physical environment and the quality of the relationships within our school community. The information gained by conducting this school climate survey will allow the District to build on existing strengths and to foster positive student achievement.
Built on research with thousands of K-12 students, parents, and school staff, as well as the advice of educators and child development experts, the CSCI was developed in a scientifically sound manner in accordance with best practice standards in testing and measurement.
The Comprehensive School Climate Inventory (CSCI) measures school climate in two important ways. First, it evaluates virtually all of the dimensions that scholars and researchers believe color and shape school climate. Second, it is a 360-degree measure that recognizes the perspective of K-12 students, parents and school personnel. The CSCI takes students and adults only 15 to 20 minutes to complete and evaluates four major dimensions of school climate – safety, teaching and learning, relationships, and environment.
The CSCI uses input from all constituencies in the community – educators, administrators, students, and parents. The survey questions are clear, precise, and easy to understand. The recommendations that are a part of each school’s final report are built on research and best practices from K-12 education. NSCC’s President, Dr. Jonathan Cohen says, “How students feel about being in school shapes their learning and development. A safe, caring, and responsive climate for learning fosters a strong attachment to school and provides the optimal foundation for learning. A positive school climate impacts student behavior, enhances positive youth development, and increases academic achievement.”
Dr. Sue Ruskin-Mayher, Director of the Middle School Education Program at Bank Street College of Education in New York says, “The CSCI and NSCC’s School Improvement Process functions as a force for change. Combining research with action, this process improves the teacher’s ability to design classrooms which respond to the needs and abilities of students . . . I don’t know of a school that couldn’t benefit from . . . this process.”
According to Dr. Chrys Dougherty, Director of Research for the National Center for Educational Accountability in Austin, Texas, “The CSCI has been developed in a scientifically sound manner. I believe that the CSCI is a valuable tool for practitioners to improve K-12 schools.”


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