“School climate is the foundation of a school community,” Dr. Russell Brown, PPS Chief of Systems Performance, said in a memo to the Board of Education. “It measures the social emotional health and wellness and is essential to the wellbeing of its students, staff and families. When you invest in and prioritize building relationships, trust, safety and a sense of belonging, school climate will improve and student achievement will follow.”
Three groups were surveyed:
- Students: 18,136 participated -- 6,718 elementary, grades 4-5; and 11,418 secondary, grades 7-10
- Families: 9,611
- Staff: 2,718 (1,842 instructional, 876 non-instruction)
Using the data, Panorama identified two “areas of focus” for PPS:
- Student Engagement: Engagement, or how attentive and interested students are in class, is the least favorable topic for elementary and secondary students, at 51% and 20% favorable, respectively.
- Perspectives on diversity and inclusion: Overall, groups reported favorable results on diversity and inclusion, but the numbers varied significantly by race. African American and Middle Eastern/North African respondents among students, families and staff all reported below average when asked about cultural respect among community members.
“We know that the student experience in our buildings varies by race, and want to reiterate our intention to hold racial equity and social justice at the forefront of this work,” Brown said. “We will use this tool to elevate the voices of underserved students so that we can build a system in accordance with our Theory of Action.”
The PPS Theory of Action states:
“If, we braid Racial Equity and Social Justice strategies into our instructional core work with our students, teachers, and content, and build our organizational culture and capacity to create a strong foundation to support every student then, we will reImagine Portland Public Schools to ensure every student, especially our Black and Native American students, realize the vision of the Graduate Portrait.”
PPS will use the areas of focus to shape next steps to take from the data, starting with fruitful discussions to formulate concrete action plans for the district. Individual school results will soon be distributed to principals who will be able to use them in planning and share them with families in the fall.
See Panorama’s Summary of the 2019-20 Successful Schools Survey