Health & Human Development Program
School Climate Can Help Turn Around Low-Performing SchoolsPositive School Climate Boosts Test Scores, Study Says
EdSource — 04/29/2013
Some schools are bright spots of academic success, consistently posting higher scores than predicted for the student populations they serve. How do these schools continue to outperform? A recent study by WestEd shows that positive school climate is one significant characteristic shared by outperforming schools.
School climate includes such factors as a school's order, safety, and discipline; supports for teaching and learning; personal and social relationships; and school connectedness.
"Improving school climate should help any school, but it particularly should be part of turning around a low-performing school," says Greg Austin, Director of the Health & Human Development Program at WestEd and a co-author of this study. "For low income communities with a lot of non-school problems, such as poverty, the research suggests that providing a safe, developmentally supportive school will help mitigate the risk factors."
Download the WestEd school climate study.
WestEd Pair Publish Longitudinal Study on Youth and Community ViolenceBehavioral Adaptation Among Youth Exposed to Community Violence: a Longitudinal Multidisciplinary Study of Family, Peer and Neighborhood-Level Protective Factors
Prevention Science — February 2013
What helps youth who have experienced or witnessed violence to build resilience over time? Two WestEd researchers studied data from 1,100 kids in Chicago neighborhoods to find an answer.
Sonia Jain, Senior Research Associate, and Alison Cohen, Research Assistant, recently published their research in the journal, Prevention Science.
In the short term, young victims of violence showed increased aggression and delinquency. The passage of time increased the odds that both victims and witnesses of violence could adapt their behavior. Caring family relationships, positive peers, and meaningful opportunities to participate in the community all helped to promote positive behavioral adaptation after exposure to violence.
California Healthy Kids Survey Shows Children and Siblings of Deployed Military Personnel More Likely to Use DrugsChildren and Siblings of Deployed Military More Likely to Use Drugs
MedicalXpress — January 18, 2013
Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) used data from the 2011 California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) to uncover a link between a child's likelihood of recent or lifetime drug use and the military deployment of that child's parent or sibling.
While the impact of a parent's military deployment on children has been widely discussed, the impact of a sibling's deployment has not been well understood. The USC research suggests that a sibling's deployment causes family disruption similar to that of a parent's deployment.
The research study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Health.
WestEd develops and administers CHKS for the California Department of Education. It is the largest statewide survey of resiliency, protective factors, and risk behaviors in the nation.
WestEd's Voight Publishes Study on Effects of Relocation on Student AchievementThe Longitudinal Effects of Residential Mobility on the Academic Achievement of Urban Elementary and Middle School Students
Educational Researcher — December 5, 2012
WestEd's Adam Voight recently published a research paper in Educational Researcher, a journal from the American Educational Research Association.
Voight and his co-authors studied the effects changing residences have on students' reading and math achievement in grades three through eight.
Not surprisingly, the disruption of changing a young student's address, and often school as well, has a negative impact on his or her reading and math achievement.
In the recent tumultuous economy, a move is often accompanied by financial hardship, which can compound stress on young students.
Voight is a Technical Assistance and Research Specialist focusing on school climate.
California Healthy Kids Survey Helps Berkeley High School Measure ProgressDrugs, Guns, Alcohol Use Down at Berkeley High, Survey Says
Oakland Tribune — November 21, 2012
This year, the halls of Berkeley High School are safer for students. The reported rate of weapon possession has dropped by one third over the last two years, according to the latest California Healthy Kids Survey results.
In 2011, Berkeley High School had seven recorded gun incidents. In response, the district stepped up efforts to make the building safer, including hiring more monitors and increasing training for security guards.
While the improved survey results are encouraging, "it's not a reason to be complacent," says Berkeley High Principal Pasquale Scuderi.
WestEd develops and administers the California Healthy Kids Survey for the California Department of Education. It's the largest statewide survey of its kind in the nation.
WestEd Data Help Ventura County Paint Complete Picture of Child Well-BeingVentura County Does Well in Score Card on Child Well-Being
Ventura County Star — October 9, 2012
Every two years Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles, builds a report card for child well-being throughout the county. Like most counties, Ventura's budget is tight, and they rely on public sources of data including the U.S. Census Bureau, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and WestEd.
The most recent report card shows that 73 percent of young children in the county are read to daily. The county also compared favorably to other California counties in various categories such as preschool attendance and math skills for seventh-grade students.
The count lags in some categories, as well, including the percentage of classrooms with high-speed Internet access.
California Healthy Kids Survey Helps Unite Reedley High SchoolAiming for Friendlier RHS
The Reedley Exponent — September 19, 2012
Leaders at Reedley High School, near Fresno, California, saw data in their California Healthy Kids Survey results that they didn't like, and took action.
As school counselor Bernadette Sanchez says, "Kids didn't feel welcomed, and a large number of people felt left out."
Based on the survey data, Reedley secured a state grant to institute a community-building program in the school.
WestEd develops and administers the California Healthy Kids Survey for the California Department of Education.
Task Force on Educator Excellence Highlights WestEd Staff and ProjectsGreatness by Design: Supporting Outstanding Teaching to Sustain a Golden State (PDF)
California Department of Education — September 7, 2012
What do WestEd projects such as the California School Climate Survey, California School Leadership Academy, K-12 Alliance, and Regional Educational Laboratory West have in common?
They're all featured in Greatness by Design, a report from the California Superintendent of Public Instruction's inaugural Task Force on Educator Excellence.
This report documents the best research and ideas from around the state for recruiting, training, supporting, and inspiring the state's educators.
WestEd staff also feature prominently in this report, including Ken Futernick, Holly Jacobson, and Karen Kearney.
Life and Health in a Low-Income NeighborhoodCalifornia Healthy Kids Survey Helps Document Poverty in Hayward
HealthyCal — May 16, 2012
Life outside school greatly impacts what happens in the classroom. For the Jackson Triangle neighborhood in Hayward, California, life is particularly hard.
This article uses data from the California Healthy Kids Survey to document poverty in the Jackson Triangle neighborhood. WestEd develops and administers the survey for the state of California.
Jackson Triangle beat more than 200 other neighborhoods from 45 states to qualify for one of five "Promise" grants from the federal government. The $25 million, five-year grant is intended to address neighborhood issues that impact education including health, safety, and stability.
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