Why is a Positive School Climate So Important?

Most adults have observed in their own or others’ children a noticeable change in personality, behavior and attitude after a child enters middle school. Suddenly that innocent, happy, optimistic, empathetic and kind fifth grader seems to have been replaced by their more dramatic, anxious, curt, and image-conscious alter ego. Research shows that this is not only the result of biological changes in students at this age, but also a reaction to major changes in the academic process and social environment when entering new school populations. Mountain Workshop programs focus not only on helping students transition into new middle and high schools, but also to help establish the tone and framework for a positive culture climate for their entire academic career.

Jennifer L. Engelland-Schultz of Illinois University summarized the importance of school climate well in her study, LONGITUDINAL EFFECTS OF SCHOOL CLIMATE ON MIDDLE-SCHOOL STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC, SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL OUTCOMES publish in August 2015:

“Millions of youth are at risk for low academic achievement, school dropout, risky behavior, bullying, and mental health concerns, especially those living in rural areas. Protective factors can reduce the likelihood of children and adolescents experiencing these negative outcomes. Research shows that positive school climate is a powerful protective factor for youth.”