As a researcher and scholar on school and youth violence, I believe that the National School Climate Center has not only enhanced the theoretical dialogue about school-related violence but, more importantly, has contributed in innumerable practical ways to assess and strategically enhance a school's social-emotional climate, including but not limited to the development of psychometrically sound and usable (i.e., reasonably short) instruments to assess school climate from the perspective of students, staff, parents, and more recently, from community residents. Moreover, the Center has developed practical guidance in interpreting the data derived from these instruments and facilitated strategic planning sessions for the school community to take the lead in identifying priorities and improving those aspects of school school climate that need to improve. School climate, in my opinion and the opinion of many scholars in the field is the key to understand and improve the school experience for all, resulting in the long-run in reducing bullying, harassment, and other forms of school aggression and in improving the overall experience and relationships within the school.
NSCC has produced state-of-the art materials and practices to assist schools, school districts, and policy-makers enhance the social and emotional climate of schools. With the perfect mixture of academic rigor, practical knowhow, and sensitivity to the needs of educational professionals, NSCC has added immensely to our understanding of the nature and dynamics of school climate, and more importantly, has created guidelines and processes for improving school climate. Not only has NSCC developed one of the most comprehensive and psychometrically sound survey instruments for students, staff, and parents (with results presented in multiple and easy-to-understand formats), the Center has also developed a non-threatening and respectful process to empower all members of a school community to work effectively and confidently in recognizing its strengths and addressing its challenges . I would highly commend the Center to any school or school district interested in improving school climate, a process that is sure to improve academic results and reduce absenteeism.
For more than a decade, the National School Climate Center has worked with the academic community - teachers, administrators, school-based mental health professionals, students and parents - to provide advocacy, policy, research and measurement tools which improve the climate for learning and help children realize their fullest potential. I'm extremely proud to to be affiliated with NSCC.
Over the last few decades there has been an explosion of research that has confirmed what good teachers have always known. Children who are frightened or ashamed (or hungry or hurt) aren't as likely to learn whatever it is we hope to teach them be that poetry, history or algebra. I have known Jonathan Cohen for over 20 years and greatly admire what he and others have created in NSCC. It is an organization dedicated to providing teachers, schools and educational leaders with the tools, resources, research data and other support to help us all make schools work for all children.
Jon Cohen's edited volumes introduced and persuaded many educators, including myself, to the field of social, emotional and character education. I have since become an avid reader of Jon Cohen's scholarly articles and his work in defining, assessing and improving school climate.
NSCC and Jon Cohen have been building the capacity of the schools to establish and maintain positive school climates through their work creating and conducting assessment and professional development. At the 2014 NSCC Summer Institute I had the pleasure of presenting to staff from public, charter, and private schools. The quality of the work of NSCC is nationally recognized and valued by educators working in all types of school configurations. This speaks to the importance of NSCC's mission and the professionalism of their staff.
I have consulted and collaborated with Jonathan Cohen and NSCC over the last 10 yrs. Most recently we co-authored with Amrit Thapa, NSCC, and Shawn Guffey, Fordham University, a paper on the core dimensions of school climate in Review of Educational Research, 2013 which is one of their top 5 most cited papers.
Currently a student of mine is working at NSCC on one of their projects, conducting research and writing state reports on school climate and enhancing school safety. I have had other students also work with them.
The NSCC staff is very bright, professional, and wonderful to work with. They are open, interested in new ideas, and very productive.
The most impressive thing about NSCC is that as an institute it is self-reflective, always engaged in improving its services, its school improvement protocol, and its measures of school climate to better serve schools, districts, and state education departments. I rank it as the top among institutes offering school improvement prac tices and evaluative research in school climate.
Ann Higgins-D'Alessandro PhD
Professor of Psychology
Educational Consultant and Evaluator
Jon Cohen and his team at NSCC are the prime organization for research, promotion, and advocacy for developing positive school climates in the nation's schools. They are exemplary in their research methods and provide both outstanding reports and presentations. It has been a pleasure interacting with NSCC over the past few years.
As a professional colleague with the team at NSSC, I have had the opportunity to benefit from dialogue and collaboration with Jon Cohen and others over the course of the last few years. The carefulness and research-based approach taken by NSSC is of the highest quality. NSSC staff demonstrates authentic passion to advance best practices for students and adults to create positive and productive school environments. This is an exemplary agency to supply resources to educators and concerned citizens for the important work of school improvement.
I have become familiar with Jonathan and his staff's work over the past several years as an advocate for promoting pro-social behavior in schools in Colorado. I have found the NSCC staff to be professional, responsive and competent. It is clear they put children's welfare above all else but are also sensitive to the inner workings of schools so that their tools, processes and guidance is adapted to each setting. There are many assessment tools being used in schools but few are valid and reliable. Even fewer leadership in districts/schools accurately interpret the data and develop an action plan to respond to what the data is telling them. The NSCC provides this very much needed comprehensive facilitation.
For the past two-plus years, I have been in conversation and collaboration with the NSCC and its staff to explore the nexus between civic learning and school climate reform. I've benefited immensely from attending the annual summer institutes, along with the resources offered by the NSCC web site. I look forward to finding ways for the NSCC to help us strengthen schools' civic learning programs in the Chicagoland area through comprehensive school climate reform.
As the former superintendent of the state technical school system in CT and now as superintendent of Westbrook, CT public schools, my work to promote and sustain positive school climates has only been possible through the shared efforts of the NSCC. I can say most emphatically, that unlike many organizations that promote themselves, the NSCC has student benefit at its core and the cadre of professionals who offer their services are totally dedicated to serving the needs of the school community. It is rare in this world to find an entity like NSCC which is dedicated to offering resources and opportunities for the taking. The NSCC is a must in any work to truly impact schools and communities, children and adults, in pursuit of the tools necessary to be successful in the improving the quality and character of the school experience.
I have been aware of the work of NSCC for over a dozen years. I have seen presentations,attended the institute and used their climate inventory with our schools in Plainview-Old Bethpage, New York.They have great resources online and their Comprehensive School Climate Inventory provides a wealth of data for diagnosis and prescription. I highly recommend their services.
The team we work with at NSCC is so delightfully involved in the project we are working on together, both intellectually and functionally. They are eager to learn, show respect for the expertise of the client, yet are so well prepared and researched that they add a level of insight and innovation to the thinking that is exceptional. They are responsive and professional and fun. What more could you ask for?!
I have been learning from and working for the NSCC for the past two years and they have the most comprehensive resources on school climate out there. Some organizations want to make money off of schools but NSCC really wants to help schools improve their school climate.
I have worked with the National School Climate Center (NSCC), Jonathan Cohen, and several of NSCC's staff for the past few years on a number initiatives ranging from training and technical assistance to research and evaluation. First and foremost, it is obvious that the NSCC's staff care about students and improving their school contexts and environments. Second, they offer first class services and are experts in the field of school climate improvement. The Comprehensive School Climate Inventory is a high quality tool and the report is very comprehensive and yet easy to use in supporting school climate improvement. Finally, I have attended NSCC's annual School Climate Institute twice and highly recommend it for school improvement teams.
The NSCC has a wealth of resources, which I have found extremely useful in developing presentations to my local school board, informing the planning and implementation of our District's S.U.M.M.I.T. grant (which seeks to better coordinate district and community mental health resources) and in developing school climate standards for Pennsylvania's state Board of Education.
I have worked in the field of education for the past 37 years as a school counselor and a professional developer in the field of school improvement. I have seen first hand what climates are like in schools and work directly with teachers and administrators on improving their schools. Lack of positive school climate and trust among the adults in a building are experiences I have had and as a result my own focus has been on school climate. I was so excited to find the National School Climate Center and Dr. Jonathan Cohen about 3 years ago. The Center is doing such fantastic work teachimg schools the 5 step process for school improvement. It is a systemic change process that takes between 3-5 years at a minimum. They have the expertise, research, personnel and dedication to help any school learn how to improve their climate. I have watched them use deep listening, creative problem solving and collaboration as well as data collection and research to successfully aid schools in their improvement.
i have watched this organization grow and mature over the last five years and seen it's focus refined to reflect one of the most important elements of school improvement--school climate. In these days when parents must be confused by claims about schools and education understanding how the role of school climate in creating an environment where kids are likely to learn is something to be considered carefully. Every parent should encourage the schools their children attend to be concerned about climate--how people treat each other, how learning is supported, spaces that students find safe to learn in--which often means making mistakes at first.
If I had to identify a single element to help us understand the success of schools and make schools better it would be school climate--a concept that brings many complex elements into an understandable form. And, to do school climate improvement successfully there is no better set of educators that I know of than those associated with this Center. In full disclosure, I have advised the group as a volunteer and apply my professional perspective to make this judgment. Every cent funneled through the center has real potential for improving schools for our children. And I especially encourage policy makers at all levels to look at this model as a way to make progress in this area so critical to the future of our nation.
Ph.D. Program in Urban Education
City University of New york
I have spent my career working to improve the quality of education for children, especially in urban areas. My focus has been on deep academic knowledge and learning what it means to live in a democracy, including learning to argue for one's beliefs, listening to others with empathy, and learning to compromise. These are difficult qualities to measure. i have found nothing as powerful as the work of the National School Climate Center for understanding how the culture of a school impacts learning either positively or negatively. The Center's work is research based, allows for assessment and progress, and is very effective in enhancing school climate and therefore the lives of children, and I might add teachers. I believe that studies will show that when school climate is optimum teacher attrition is reduced. We already know that it leads to stronger learning outcomes.
I was so impressed with NSCC and their work that I dropped off of the Board of another organization and joined this one. This is a rare organization where "the cause" still takes priority over the organization itself. Schools are so focused on just grades these days that they lose the most important element of human relations and mutual empathy, things that actually correlate better with success than grades. Bully prevention is one element but this is more -- a school's entire environment is analyzed and improved using NSCC's services. This helps keep students motivated and happy, helps then connect with school employees, it helps them make friends, and yes, it helps grades and graduation rates. NSCC applies a quantitative customized analytical approach to a qualitative subject, and measures their impact, so it is not "soft". Schools continue to ask for more budget, or make hard decisions on how to cut costs to deal with smaller budgets -- but how do they know they are spending the money in the most effective way? NSCC gives pointers that have measurable impact upon a schools learning environment, while boosting kids' social and emotional well being. Thnis will help focus spending effectiveness. NSCC just needs more people to know about them, their programs and staff, and their deep expertise. Their impact will have a multiplier effect, making the children's lives better, as well as those they touch.
I am an education consultant in an international organization. While choosing an institute to provide us with technical support on implementing the project of social emotional learning (SEL), I have found that NSCC offers a comprehensive and in-depth theoretical framework and a systematic plan for carrying out SEL in primary and secondary schools. More specifically, the theory NSCC presents is of great help for us to promote quality education under the condition of exam-oriented teaching. NSCC also stands out in improving school management and long-term development.
I am a teacher education professional and work extensively with a range of schools serving very diverse populations. When I work with teachers and/or school administrators, questions about school climate are often on the forefront of their minds. I have found that the National School Climate Center is an excellent resource for both theoretical and practical materials. For example, they have an exceptional tool for assessing school climate that helps identify areas of strength and areas of weakness. More importantly, they offer a comprehensive strategy that takes a school step-by-step through a process of school climate improvement. This process has been refined through years of research and practical experience.