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Student Belonging and School Climate

Our staff and Board of Education are committed to ensuring that every adult and child feels appreciated, validated, accepted and treated fairly. This commitment is based on our steadfast belief that belonging is integral to ensuring that all students and staff achieve to their fullest potential. 

To this end, in the fall of 2022 we continued our ongoing collaboration with “Belonging Through a Culture of Dignity” co-authors Dr. Floyd Cobb and John Krownapple, whose research is helping to guide us as we work to promote welcoming school environments. Our faculty and staff have participated in professional development with Dignity Consulting, and we have been strategizing on our efforts around elevating belonging in our school community. 

In the winter of 2024, all students in grades 4-12 were asked to participate in our Student Belonging and School Climate Survey.  School-based Belonging Teams, comprised of administrators and staff, analyzed student belonging data and are working to implement strategies to improve students’ sense of belonging as a means to optimize the conditions for learning. 

Why Survey Our Youth?  

It has been well established by educational research that students who feel a greater sense of school belonging experience many positive outcomes, including greater academic achievement. A recent study published in the School Psychology International stated,

“Regardless of the term, school belonging, engagement, connectedness, and bonding have been linked with academic persistence and effort (Tinto, 1997), better educational outcomes (Goodenow, 1993), prosocial behaviors (Solomon, Battistich, Kim, & Watson, 1996), fewer mental health problems (Gaete, Rojas- Barahona, Olivares, & Araya, 2016), reduced bullying victimization (Bosworth, Espelage, & Simon, 1999), gratitude (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008), and lower rates of delinquency and dropout (Finn & Rock, 1997).”  

By surveying our students, we hope to gather more information about their experiences and perceptions so that we can learn how to better meet their needs.  

Works Cited:

Wagle, R., Dowdy, E., Yang, C., Palikara, O., Castro, S., Nylund-Gibson, K., & Furlong, M. J. (2018). Preliminary investigation of the psychological sense of school membership scale with primary school students in a cross-cultural context. School Psychology International, 39(6), 568–586. https://doi.org/10.1177/0143034318803670

Student Survey Data: Spring, 2024