CCSU Schools to Measure Climate for Learning

Beginning Monday, March 17, the Chittenden Central Supervisory Union (CCSU) is asking all parents/guardians, students and school personnel to participate in a scientific survey to assess school climate. In partnership with the Center for Social and Emotional Education (CSEE), CCSU is administering the online survey instrument, called the Comprehensive School Climate Inventory (CSCI), to parents, students and school personnel.

This year will mark the second time that CCSU will take part in the CSCI online survey, after first introducing it in the fall of 2012.  The survey helps capture perceptions that CCSU uses to identify planning priorities for the action plans developed by each school, and that will continue following this round as these are continuously refined.

The 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 perspectives of all parents/guardians, school personnel, and students (grades three through 12).  Four major dimensions of school climate are evaluated by the CSCI: safety, teaching and learning, relationships, and environment.  Results will be utilized by each school to build community, promote student participation, develop school-home-community partnerships, and inform the ongoing development of a collaborative plan for ongoing school improvement.

The survey questions are clear, precise, and easy to understand, as the CSCI uses input from all constituencies in the school community – faculty, staff, administrators, students, and parents.  Each recommendation included in each school’s final report is built on research and best practices.

The National School Climate Center (NSCC), the non-profit organization that developed the survey instrument, was founded in 1997 at the Teacher’s College of Columbia University, and works with schools and districts nation-wide to support the development of healthy and positively engaged students.  The CSCI is a research-based needs assessment developed by NSCC that will once again help CCSU and its schools measure and improve school climate.

According to NSCC, “Peer-reviewed educational research has consistently demonstrated that a positive school climate is associated with academic achievement, effective risk prevention efforts and positive youth development.”

Built on research with thousands of K-12 students, parent/guardians, and school staff, as well as the advice of educators and child development experts, the CSCI is a research-based assessment tool developed in accordance with best practice standards in testing and measurement.

All parents and guardians are encouraged to complete a survey for each school in which their children attend.   Directions for completing the survey will be distributed by the schools.  Parents/guardians who have not received this information by March 17 are encouraged to contact their child’s building principal.  More information about the survey instrument can be found at