Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) has administered Tripod student surveys district-wide since 2011. While survey results have been primarily used to inform teacher practice, and beginning last year, summative evaluations, we have recently become interested in using Tripod data to understand and improve the climate and culture of our schools.

For us, a positive school climate is a safe and welcoming teaching and learning environment, one in which students and staff enjoy strong relationships and a sense of belonging. In order to ensure that the climate of every PPS school is a positive, we need to look closely at current conditions through the eyes of the people who experience them. Collaborating with Tripod’s team will allow us to do just that.

Using Tripod’s school climate, bullying, and teasing measures—along with other data gleaned from teacher surveys and administrative records—we will identify and assist schools in need of climate interventions. The same Tripod measures will allow us to monitor these interventions’ progress, ensuring that they have substantially positive impacts on the lives of teachers and students.

We firmly believe that student voice has an important place in school improvement efforts. Tripod’s classroom-level instruments already drive professional growth and evaluation in our district, and we look forward to adding school climate data to our toolkit as we work to establish and maintain environments in which all teachers can teach and all students can learn.