District-wide surveys gather data

Schools measured in social-emotional, climate categories

Kaitlyn Jiang, asst. news editor

Students took the newly-implemented and district-wide Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) survey and Comprehensive School Climate Inventory (CSCI) survey, on Oct. 23 and Oct. 28, Principal Dr. Barbara Georges said. The surveys were conducted to aid South’s development by providing benchmarks of student social and emotional states, and school climate, but they have distinct differences: the purpose of each survey and the categories that were measured, Georges explained.

The SEL survey’s purpose was to measure the student body in eight categories: sense of belonging, challenging feelings, emotional regulation, grit, growth mindset, positive feelings, self-management, social awareness, and supportive relationships, Cameron Muir, Associate Principal of Curriculum and Instruction, explained. In the CSCI survey, the dimensions of school climate measured are safety, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning, institutional environments, social media, leadership, and professional relationships, Casey Wright, Associate Principal of Administrative Services, explained.

The SEL survey is part of Panorama, a newly implemented program the district is utilizing that tracks the overall academic and social-emotional well-being of students, Georges said.

“[The SEL survey] was meant to get an understanding of our school and how well all of our students are either accessing or receiving resources, or feeling that there are supportive relationships in the building,” Muir said.

The October SEL survey results serve as a benchmark, and the survey will be administered again in January and April to provide the district with an understanding of students’ growth, Muir said. In future years, the survey will allow the administration to find trends of students’ social-emotional growth and identify events that impact poll categories, Muir added.

While the SEL survey was just for students, the CSCI survey was completed by students, parents, and staff across the district, Wright said. The CSCI was developed by the National School Climate Center, where school climate refers to the quality and character of school life, Wright said.

“The data report will show how [students, parents, and staff] are similar or different in their perceptions of school climate,” Wright said. “The CSCI will help [the administration] evaluate our district’s strengths and areas of improvement and provide a platform to build an action plan for improving school climate.”

District 225 has established School Climate Leadership Teams (SCLTs) in South, North, and Off-Campus, Wright said. The teams will consist of students, staff, and parents and are co-facilitated, collaborative, and practice shared decision making, he added.

The purpose of these groups is to obtain feedback, Georges said. The team provides new context for the data collected from the CSCI, and members will have conversations sharing varied experiences with the school, she explained.

“This team was intentionally chosen to [make sure] all of the different experiences and viewpoints are being shared to catch the entire picture of [South],” Georges said.

Eryk Krzyzak, Spanish Teacher and member of a SCLT group, described the idea of improving school climate sparked his interest in to joining the team.

“Something that’s always interested me are the different pillars behind [good school climate] and how we [can] maximize that,” Krzyzak said. “The more people that are happier and feeling good at school, the better the experience is for everybody.”

These surveys measured how students feel and perform in the school, Muir explained. With this information, the administration can take action to achieve the optimal school climate and culture, Muir said.

“[These surveys] help inform us on what we can do to understand our students better so we can help them in achieving their goals as individuals,” Muir said.