School Climate Change Process

The School Climate Change Process (SCCP) is based on a behavioral consultation model designed to promote changes in systems and behaviors. The SCCP is part of a theory of change that involves a range of critical steps for success and conditions that support the development and implementation of a comprehensive school climate improvement plan.

Schools begin the SCCP by forming a high-functioning school climate leadership team (SCLT) comprised of diverse school community members that drives and monitors improvement efforts. Teams collaborate to collect and analyze school climate data from students (grades 3-12), staff, and parents/caregivers and use these and other data to drive goal development and alignment of strategies to goals to build a comprehensive and coordinated strategic plan. Development of this comprehensive strategic plan requires ongoing communication and collaboration with school community members. This helps to ensure equitable access to data and feedback throughout the change process and is essential for achieving goals.

Once schools begin to implement their plans, they evaluate progress and make necessary modifications based on new data and information collected. Schools continuously cycle through this process, collecting data and evaluating progress over the course of several years. Research suggests systemic, positive changes related to school climate improvement typically take three to five years*.

Leadership support and coordination at the district level is vital to starting and sustaining the SCCP. District leaders champion the importance of this work in the community and enact leadership skills and competencies to drive the SCCP, including aligning a district’s vision and values to school climate goals and priorities, engaging various key community members, and providing structures and supports to enable individuals and teams to effectively and efficiently facilitate school climate improvement activities. Equity, particularly as it relates to communicating and engaging with school community members, is prioritized throughout each element of the SCCP and is attended to by both district–and school-level leaders.

*Cawelti, 1999; Protheroe, 2011.