The SAFEMEASURES™ process is a comprehensive, yet simple process for improving school climate and learning. We use the power of student-led, collaborative action research to engage and inspire students and teachers to work together to improve their schools.
This five-stage process brings together diverse teams of student and adult leaders to collect and analyze school climate data, create action plans and initiate effective projects and activities that promote measurable school climate improvement.
We use a valid and reliable school climate assessment program that is aligned with National School Climate Standards to guide school improvement planning and design. Engaging students and teachers as leaders and experts on school climate is the heart and soul of this five step school improvement process.
A growing body of research indicates that school climates that are safe, supportive, caring, challenging, and participatory contribute to students' feelings of connectedness to their school. In turn, these students are more likely to attend school, be engaged in learning, and perform better academically. (Blum 2005; Cohen, 2006; Gordon & Crabtree, 2006; National Research Council, 2004)
These findings are consistent with new research on school success by the California Healthy Students Research Project (CHSRP) that shows school climate is an important key to educational success. In their analysis of data over 3 years, researchers found that students in the schools with the best climate performed in the highest quintile on state tests, even when researchers controlled for ethnicity, parental income, etc. (Hanson, T., Austin, G., & Zheng, H., California Healthy Students Research Project, (CHSRP) Brief No. 1)
Additional research conducted by our research team in Sullivan County Tennessee (Preble, W., Newman, A., 2006) showed that academic achievement rose nearly 10% in the schools that showed the greatest improvement over three years in school climate as measured by our SAFEMEASURES™ School Climate Surveys.
Other major studies conducted by the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) showed that students in schools reporting an above-average climate had higher mean NAEP mathematics scale scores than students in schools reporting average or below-average school climate on the same measure. (Greenberg, Skidmore, Rhodes, & Nesbitt, 2001)
Researchers in Alaska replicated these NAEP studies and found similarly positive effects of school climate on student achievement in all academic areas. (Spier, Osher & Kendziora, 2009)