School Climate

Definition, Measurement, and Application

Authored by: Keith J. Zullig , Molly R. Matthews-Ewald

Handbook of Positive Psychology in Schools

Print publication date:  March  2014
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415621854
eBook ISBN: 9780203106525
Adobe ISBN: 9781136258398


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As Cohen, McCabe, Michelli, and Pickeral (2009) note, there is no one universal definition of school climate. However, these researchers refer to school climate as “… the quality and character of school life” (p. 182) because of its inclusiveness of the school physical environment, as well as the variety of social factors that can facilitate learning and achievement. A broad definition of a positive school climate encompasses the norms, values, relationships, and organizational structures that facilitate appropriate youth learning and development. Further, a positive school climate should provide feelings of safety socially, emotionally, and physically. We believe Cohen and colleagues’ (2009) definition of school climate is the most comprehensive and will hold this definition throughout the duration of this chapter.

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