Center for Urban Education

Strategy 2. Use data to provide support for students, teachers, and families

Understanding the perceptions, needs, and feelings of the school community is an important component of promoting a positive school climate. There is a growing base of empirical evidence that students’ experiences of school climate and their academic achievement are linked.  Although the term “school climate” implies that it is a characteristic of school buildings, research shows that students in the same school may experience safety, support, and connection differently based on their unique identities. Further, the relationship between climate and achievement may be stronger for students from lower socioeconomic status and students of color compared to their peers. Using data to promote a positive school climate and inform education policy is not a new strategy. However, due to the recent pandemic and racial justice issues, a nuanced examination of student needs to inform services is imperative in both face-to-face and remote contexts. Data is normally used to identify gaps in schools. However, due to the recent challenges, this year a more equitable use of data must be considered. When interpreting data, schools and districts must also be mindful to include representation from different voices (e.g., parents, students, personnel, community members, and outside sources) to their needs assessment and work in creating a positive school climate. Schools and districts can also consider using non-educational data (e.g., community-based data, unemployment data, Medicaid) to help understand the challenges students face. Below is a list of strategies for using data to promote a positive school climate for all students.

  • Assess the needs of students, families, and staff multiple times throughout the year. Collaborate with partners to access existing data that may also help identify needs.
  • Use both quantitative and qualitative data to identify and address achievement, opportunity, and social and emotional gaps among students.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders throughout the school, district, and community to gather and analyze data and share outcomes with stakeholders. 
  • Based on data, utilize evidence-based practices to support students.

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