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A positive school environment that is safe, supportive, and inclusive can increase student engagement, attendance, and achievement. Against a backdrop of teacher and leader changes, school improvement plans, and increased youth voice, what does it take to create a positive school climate? What is the field doing to ensure that school climate is positive for the students and the school staff? What does it take to establish a web of support for young people and for the adults tasked to raise student achievement and graduation rates?

During this webinar, participants will learn from City Year National and City Year Detroit in partnership with Osborn High School. They will share their whole child, data-driven approach and the resources and capacities needed to implement it at the individual student, classroom and school-wide levels.

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  1. 1. | #GradNation Achieving a 90 Percent Graduation Rate: Relationships and Mindsets that Strengthen School Climate Tuesday, September 25, 2018 3:00 - 4:15pm EST
  2. 2. | | #GradNation Agenda  Welcome and background  City Year National: The “City Year Effect” on school improvement  City Year in Detroit: Partnerships that Improve School Climate  Moderated Panel Discussion  Questions and Answers
  3. 3. | #GradNation School climate is multi-faceted. School climate is –  The quality and character of school life that includes norms, values, and expectations that support people feeling socially, emotionally and physically safe; people are engaged and respected; students, families, and educators work together to develop and contribute to a shared school vision; educators model and nurture attitudes that emphasize the benefits and satisfaction gained from learning; each person contributes to the operations of the school and the care of the physical environment (National School Climate Council)  The product of a school’s attention to fostering safety; promoting a supportive academic, disciplinary, and physical environment; and encouraging and maintaining respectful, trusting, and caring relationships throughout the school community no matter the setting (National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments) [emphasis added] GradNation Action Platform: Improve school climate by promoting a sense of caring and connection between students and in-school staff through disciplinary practices and policies that are inclusive and ensure students stay in school through to graduation.
  4. 4. | | #GradNation A Web of Support • A “web of support” framework describes how youth relate to adults and peers in their lives and how these relationships provide the developmental supports necessary for young people to be on a positive developmental trajectory. • These are the relationships that provide the supports necessary for young people to thrive. Varga and Zaff. “Defining Webs of Support,” Center for Promise, February 2017.
  5. 5. | | #GradNation  Survey data (e.g., student, personnel, administrator, family perceptions)  Absenteeism  Teacher absences  Discipline referrals  Suspensions and expulsions  Focus groups …among others. Using multiple data points is key. Measures of School Climate
  6. 6. | | #GradNation Virgil Sheppard National School Partnerships Director City Year National City Year National LaTasha Golden National Afterschool Specialist City Year National
  7. 7. Identity Formation Students possess a self- narrative about who they are as learners and leaders and the meaning they’ve gained from their experiences Agency Students believe in their ability to succeed, advocate for themselves, and become agents of schools and communities Durable Skills Students attain durable foundational skills in emotion management, social interactions, and academics, an accomplishment that fuels their identity formation and sense of agency and sets the stage for more complex learning
  8. 8. Assertiveness Leadership Voice Choice Autonomy Active Engagement Body Movement Hands-on Belonging Relationship Empathy Trust Reflection Meaning making Observation Insight Self-awareness
  9. 9. City Year measures its social-emotional development work using the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA), a standardized, strengths-based measure of social competencies of children. – Personal Responsibility – Decision Making – Optimistic Thinking – Relationship Skills – Goal Directed Behavior – Self Awareness – Self Management – Social Awareness
  10. 10. | #GradNation City Year Detroit Brian Kilkelly Learning and Development Director City Year Detroit
  11. 11. Detroit Educational Landscape and City Year 50,000+ students across 106 schools in Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), the main traditional public school district City Year deploys 91 AmeriCorps members across 9 DPSCD campuses serving over 6,500 students: – Seven K-8 campuses – One HS campus – One K-12 campus (two schools and administrations housed in one building)
  12. 12. City Year Detroit Culture and Climate Work • Partnership with DPSCD – Supporting district strategic plan: key related pillars • Transformative Culture • Whole-child Commitment – Key developments: human capital commitments from DPSCD • Deans of Culture • Guidance Counselors
  13. 13. City Year Detroit Culture and Climate Work • Training for staff and AmeriCorps members – School Culture and Climate training – Youth Development training – Growth Mindset for Mentors Toolkit Project for Education Research That Scales (PERTS)/Stanford
  14. 14. City Year Detroit Culture and Climate Work Programming at schools School-wide Individual Students Adult Relationships Morning greeting: demonstrating the caring community in a school Behavior coaching tied to social and emotional development Supporting efforts of school administration School-wide events celebrating positive behavior Positive phone calls home to parents and guardians Partnership with teachers to address classroom culture School service projects to enhance built environment of school buildings Incentives for positive behavior (recognition from City Year team, special lunches or programs) Building strong relationships with all members of the school staff community Positive role-modeling, especially at potential “difficult moments” – passing time, hallways, lunch, etc. Conflict de-escalation and resolution strategies Staff and teacher appreciation events
  15. 15. Successes: Training Youth Development • 73% of City Year Detroit AmeriCorps members agree or strongly agree that their understanding of City Year’s youth development model helped them differentiate their approach to building relationships with students • 87% of City Year Detroit AmeriCorps members agree or strongly agree that their understanding of City Year’s youth development model helped them differentiate the learning experiences they facilitate with students 2017-2018 City Year Detroit Q2 AmeriCorps Member Survey (n=29)
  16. 16. Successes: Partnership Principals • 93% of principals are satisfied to very satisfied with the quality of service provided by the City Year team • 93% of principals think the City Year team worked well with their teachers and/or staff • 100% of principals think their City Year team had a moderate to great deal of positive impact on the overall school climate 2017-2018 City Year Detroit Spring Principal Survey (n=14)
  17. 17. Successes: Partnership Teachers • 94% of partner teachers believe that City Year Detroit AmeriCorps Members had a moderate to great deal of positive impact on the overall school climate • 93% of partner teachers agree or strongly agree that City Year Detroit AmeriCorps Members fostered a positive environment for learning • 94% of partner teachers are satisfied or very satisfied with the overall impact of City Year on their class/students “City Year has been doing a fantastic job with our staff and students. We couldn't have made it through this year without them.” “I think they really help to improve school culture.” 2017-2018 City Year Detroit Spring Partner Teacher Survey (n=35)
  18. 18. Successes: Resources • Devereux Student Strengths Assessment • Youth Development Model • Growth Mindset for Mentors Toolkit
  19. 19. Areas for Improvement • Prioritizing climate work within the full scope of services that City Year offers • Vision calibration (DPSCD, principals, City Year) – Confident in vision from DPSCD leadership – As implementation takes shape, City Year can become even more aligned to the efforts led by principals and teachers
  20. 20. City Year Detroit and Osborn High School • 100% of our high-need behavior students at Osborn reduced their number of suspensions • 80% of our evaluated students grew in social emotional learning/behavioral skills◊ • Nearly half of our attendance students moved from off-track to on-track in their average daily attendance (ADA) “City Year is the most valuable partnership at Osborn. They've been the most consistent and effective with their work. I've appreciated how connected and present the leadership has been. Ms. Johnson and Adam have done a wonderful job leading the team this year. I'm so grateful to have them at Osborn.”* ◊ 2017-2018 Deveraux Student Strengths Assessment Results;* 2017-2018 City Year Detroit Spring Principal Survey
  21. 21. | | #GradNation Moderated Panel Discussion Brian Kilkelly Learning and Development Director City Year Detroit Adam Scanlon Impact Manager City Year Detroit Pashawn Johnson Principal Osborn High School Ja'Mon Miller 11th Grade Student, Osborn High School
  22. 22. | | #GradNation Questions & Answers
  23. 23. | #GradNation The GradNation campaign: City Year National City Year Detroit For all things GradNation, email the team at For more information: