Research has proven that students are more successful when they feel safe, connected, and have a sense of belonging at school. However, indicators of student success are often centered around academic achievement, overlooking the importance of school climate in contributing to positive student outcomes. As children return to in-person learning after nearly two years of pandemic-related disruptions, Colorado must define a statewide vision for school climate that enables students to feel connected and achieve their goals.
We are back with a new episode of The West Steps! Today's conversation centers a first-ever topic on the podcast – school climate. We are joined by Leslie Colwell, V.P. for Education Initiatives at the Colorado Children’s Campaign; Jennifer Levin, Director of Public Policy at The Arc of Colorado; and Veronica Bell, 3rd-grade teacher at KIPP Sunshine Peak Elementary and Teach Plus Colorado Policy Fellow. Our guests provide us with an overview of how school climate impacts the overall well-being and academic performance of students and the current work the School Climate Coalition is undertaking to create better learning environments for kids statewide. The discussion highlights the need to gather data that more adequately measures the school environments students are currently facing. These could include students sense of belonging, fair discipline practices, and behavioral health support. By gathering these data and making them publicly available, they can be used to help advance holistic policy solutions that create school climates in which students are eager to learn and thrive.
The School Climate Coalition is eager to elevate the voices of those closest to students. If you are interested in sharing your story and getting involved in this important work, contact Leslie Colwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.Support the show