At a Glance
In 2016, Schuylkill Technology Center (STC) implemented the School Climate Initiative based on the work of the National School Climate Center (NSCC). The School Climate Initiative is a comprehensive effort to build strong school-to-student and school-to-family relationships so that students and families are connected and engaged in the school experience. The initiative strives to create a supportive learning environment that addresses the “social and emotional, civic and academic growth for all students.” (See NSCC website at www.schoolclimate.org.)
STC Assistant Principal Stacey Minahan spearheaded the adoption of the School Climate Initiative; both of the school’s campuses participate. Faculty and administrators view the initiative as a powerful tool to keep students engaged in their learning and to prevent them from dropping out of school.
The School Climate Team, comprised of about 20 staff members, guides the School Climate Initiative implementation process. A mid-year action plan and a comprehensive action plan identify the following:
- Objectives and sub-goals;
- Needs of students, parents, staff and community;
- Measurement measures to track progress/success of objectives and sub-goals;
- Strategies for meeting the objectives and goals; and
- Specific tasks for each strategy.
The team uses student focus groups and annual survey of key stakeholders to gauge school needs and guide development of the action plans. The survey addressed four domains: 1) social emotional learning, 2) student support, 3) high expectations for academic rigor and challenge, and 4) safe and respectful school climate. A goal to improve communication and positive relations with all stakeholder groups was established for the 2016-2017 school year based on survey results.
Through the work of the initiative, STC staff implemented several strategies to develop student-to-school connections and social-emotional learning. The aim is to keep students connected to the school community, motivated to learn and in school. For example, the Positive Norms Campaign – the foundation of the school’s cultural shift – launched during the 2017-18 school year and focused on increasing student and faculty relations and building a positive school culture. In addition, STC also created an online tool for students to anonymously communicate concerns related to bullying and other social-emotional needs. An increase of activities (e.g., a dance, 5k run, Appreciation Day) to involve students in the CTC has been implemented.
For a more in depth look at how STC is implementing the School Climate Initiative, see the attached Action Plan.
Schuylkill Technology Center
Stacey Minahan, Assistant Principal