Culture and Climate surveys

  • Webster Groves School District focuses on the whole child, including social and emotional development. Social and emotional learning is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

    In an effort to provide data to schools that inform their plans in creating school climates that feel safe and welcoming, WGSD surveys students in grades 3-12, staff and families about their perspectives about teaching and learning, culture and climate and their classroom experiences. The survey allows for students to offer feedback specifically about school safety, their sense of belonging, teacher-student relationships, cultural awareness and diversity and inclusion.

    What information does DESE require for surveys?
    We are required by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)  to administer surveys of our choosing aimed towards school improvement. The first cycle of Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP 6) will occur in the 2022-2023 school year. The Continuous Improvement domain contains a Climate and Culture component that includes surveying students, staff and parents to obtain feedback to be analyzed in planning and developing the school district’s Continuous Improvement Plan. The climate and culture survey must address the following three essential indicators: student voices are heard and respected, school culture and climate data and reports are provided to stakeholders, and educator teams address positive classroom learning environments.

    Who does the district partner with to develop the surveys?
    WGSD partners with Panorama Education to collect and analyze data about social-emotional learning, school climate, family engagement and more. With research-backed surveys and a leading technology platform, Panorama helps educators act on data and improve student outcomes. Panorama supports more than 10 million students in 17,000 schools and 1,500 districts across 49 states. To learn more about Panorama Education, visit www.panoramaed.com.

    How was the survey developed?
    The Culture and Climate survey was developed under the leadership of Dr. Hunter Gehlbach, Associate Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Director of Research at Panorama Education. The research team followed a rigorous survey development process that involved multiple rounds of piloting and refinement, following cognitive interviews with students, an extensive review of survey literature, and feedback from experts around the country.

    What does the survey measure?
    The Culture and Climate survey is designed to capture student voice and allow students to express their perspectives about teaching and learning, culture and climate, and their classroom experiences. The Student Supports and Environments portion of the survey allows for students to offer feedback specifically about school safety, their sense of belonging, teacher-student relationships, cultural awareness, and diversity and inclusion.

    Why does this survey ask students questions on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion?
    Student data on diversity, equity and inclusion is helpful to better understand and analyze trends. Our awareness of student’s perspectives improves and informs our professional development plans, school improvement plans and awareness of diverse cultures. A hallmark of effective instruction and teaching is student voice and agency which recognizes diversity of people and thought. The Culture and Climate survey provides students with an opportunity to share their authentic feedback about the world around them—a world that we are actively preparing them to enter post K-12.

    How will the survey results benefit WGSD?
    The primary purpose of the survey is to understand students, families, and staff perspectives. District leadership, school administrators, and staff review the overview data to understand areas of strength and growth opportunities to better serve students and staff and to provide targeted student support. By utilizing Culture and Climate surveys, WGSD is able to better monitor the progress towards improvement across the district, specifically as it relates to social-emotional development and school climate. 

    Are there questions included in the survey that ask about the mental health of my student?
    No. Culture and Climate surveys are not designed for nor should be used to identify students who require mental health or trauma treatment. The purpose of the survey is to help educators understand students’ general social-emotional needs and strengths.

    Will this impact my student’s grades if they don’t take the survey?
    No. There is no credit or grade which is given to students for participating or not participating. The survey is totally voluntary. There are no right or wrong responses.

    Are there questions included in the survey that ask about the political or religious 
    beliefs of my student?
    No. Culture and Climate surveys do not ask about political or religious affiliation or belief.