Social & Education Policy

2018 ICCSD School Climate Report Released

Students sitting at desks studying

The University of Iowa Public Policy Center (PPC) and the Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) released a report on Tuesday, May 8 that describes student experiences of school climate in the District’s schools. The report, presented at the ICCSD Board of Education meeting, details results from a survey administered to all 5th through 12th grade students in the ICCSD in February and March 2018. 

Though some of the student experiences of school climate have improved since the 2017 survey, many areas of student experience have worsened, and there remains consistent patterns of racial disparities and disparities among non-binary gender identified (non-male or female) and LGB-identified (lesbian, gay or bisexual) students.

Key findings of the 2018 report include:

  • All aspects of teacher relationships declinedfrom 2017-2018. However, all aspects of mentor relationships increasedfrom 2017-2018.
  • From 2017 to 2018, there are increasingpercentages of students reporting opportunities to talk about race, gender, and sexual orientation in class. However, there has been a decreasein the percentage of students reporting feeling valued as a member of the classroom and feeling comfortable sharing in class.   
  • There are high percentagesof students reporting harassment on the basis of social differences, and the lowest ratesof responsiveness are reported about students not intervening in bullying situations. 
  • A high and increasing percentage of students report that they, their school, or adults in their school value diversity and respect differences, but a high and increasing percentage of students report that they have heard hurtful comments from teachers or other students.

“This student climate data not only provides insight into student experiences of District schools, but provides an opportunity to evaluate progress in achieving more equity in student experiences and outcomes, and to inform the District’s planning moving forward.” Dr. Sarah Bruch, lead author of the report and Director of the Social and Education Policy Research Program said.  

“While the data shows some promising trends, more needs to be done to address the racial and ethnic disparities in the data. We have started numerous initiatives based on the analysis and data from prior years, but this year’s analysis will help lead us in a more detailed and systematic approach to addressing disparities.”-Kingsley Botchway II, Director of Equity and Engagement.

The focus on student experiences of school climate is motivated by research which shows that school environments in which all students feel safe, respected and cared for are conducive to student learning and achievement.The student experiences of school climate survey assesses student experiences related to five main areas:  

  • Relationships with teachers
  • Staff, counselor and mentor relationships
  • Inclusive school climate
  • Inclusive classrooms
  • Safety and disciplinary environment

The survey and report are the product of a research-practice partnership between the Social and Education Policy Research Program at the Public Policy Center and the ICCSD.

* Press release from Iowa City Community School District