Understanding the climate and culture inside each IPS school is just one of the goals the district is working on this year, and it’s going directly to the source — or sources — to gather the information.

On February 25, the district’s Performance and Continuous Improvement Department launched three different versions of a Climate & Culture survey to gauge how staff, students (in Grades 3-12) and families think about their schools in a variety of areas — from belonging to engagement barriers to teacher efficacy.

The survey is open through March 15 and is anonymous, giving participants an opportunity to answer questions honestly.

Why climate and culture?

“There’s been a lot of compelling research that says it’s important to have a healthy school climate and culture in your building,” said Shareyna Chang, director of school quality. “The survey feedback will give us a checkup on what climate and culture looks like in a school.”

The research also shows that a positive and sustained school climate promotes students’ academic achievement, healthy development and teacher retention.

“Having a positive school culture and climate is essential for there to be high performance,” said Chang. “It’s like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. If you don’t have these base things, a student’s not going to be able to perform the way that they can if they have these basic needs met. Like, do you feel safe at school; is this a good school fit for you; is there a barrier for you to engage?”

Data collected through the survey won’t sit unused.

The feedback received will be turned into school-specific data used to facilitate conversations with each school for action planning, followed by implementation. Schools can use the information to promote meaningful staff, family and student engagement, and to enhance the social, emotional, ethical, civic and intellectual skills and dispositions that contribute to success in school and in life.

“Having access to that data, we will be able to drive change,” said Chang.

To participate in the Climate & Culture survey, contact your school.