Why and How Families Choose K-12 Schools: Reason 3

4 min read
Nov 19, 2021 6:29:50 AM

What makes your K-12 school or district appealing to families? In this third installment of a five-part series on why and how families choose schools, you’ll learn why school climate and culture is the most critical piece of student retention.

In a world of greater choice and innovation across K-12 education, parents and guardians have more say in how and where their children are educated. Why and how do families choose schools? Click here to start at Reason 1: School Brand and Reputation.

School climate and culture hold immense power over student academic performance, family decisions, and student retention — all of which affect student enrollment and thus a school’s financial sustainability.

In fact, a school’s climate and culture is the number one reason whether a family will keep their child enrolled with that school or look for a new one.

  • Why is a positive climate and culture important?
  • How does it affect teachers?
  • What do families want?

Read on for all these answers and more.

Group Of Elementary School Pupils Sitting On Floor In Classroom

The Importance of Having a Positive School Climate and Culture

A positive school climate and culture is fundamental to attracting and retaining students and faculty. Families want schools that provide safe, caring classrooms with a focus on student support and positive relationships.

Research shows that the following traits correlate with a positive school climate and culture:

  • Strong relationships between teachers and students
  • Clearly articulated expectations and supports for students
  • Consistent, fair, and equitable discipline responses
  • Systematic positive reinforcement of behaviors
  • Proactive, regular feedback from and engagement by leadership

These factors help create a predictable, safe environment for students — and therefore they will enjoy coming to class.

“Positive learning can only take place in a positive culture. A healthy school culture will affect more student and teacher success than any other reform or school improvement effort currently being employed.” — Gary Phillips, 2016

By contrast, schools with high rates of discipline issues and suspensions typically have a poor climate and culture.

Families will pull their children from these schools and seek places with low rates of discipline issues as well as positive approaches to helping students learn and exhibit appropriate behaviors.

What This Means for Teachers

Studies also show that teachers are more likely to remain in the profession if they are in schools with PBIS systems in place.

Additionally, teachers in positive climates with a focus on instructional coaching, professional development, and principal support — as opposed to an evaluation focus — will grow their skill set and feel supported, which makes them more likely to remain in the profession.

This support has a trickle-down effect into the classroom. When a teacher feels supported in their role by administration, they are:

  • Less stressed
  • Can be more effective in the classroom
  • Have a more joyful, meaningful experience at work

Student achievement and teacher effectiveness — which will be explored in this blog series as another reason as to how families choose schools — exist in tandem.

You can’t have one without the other.

Solutions for Creating Positive Classrooms

A positive classroom is an engaged and productive learning environment where students and teachers alike feel safe, supported, and motivated to achieve.

Since a positive climate underpins a great deal regarding student achievement and outcomes, SchoolMint offers three solutions that can help you support teachers’ growth, manage students’ SEL needs, and collect data to guide decision-making.

SchoolMint Grow logo

SchoolMint Grow is a teacher coaching and observation platform that makes it easy to give and receive feedback and bring out the best in every teacher.

With an all-in-one digital platform, Grow eliminates the need for manual processes, boosts your efficiency, and can help you see trends in your coaching practices. With Grow, you get:

  • Quick feedback and time-stamped notes
  • Lesson plan feedback and video integration
  • Customizable rubrics and forms
  • Personalized action steps
  • One place to manage it all
SchoolMint Hero logo

SchoolMint Hero is the answer to school-wide behavior management. Easy to use and effective, Hero unites your entire campus behind one PBIS behavior plan.

Turn disciplinary infractions into learning opportunities. Build trust through fair and equitable discipline policies. Reduce tardiness and chronic absenteeism. With Hero, you can: 

  • Reward positive behavior
  • Track behavior trends with built-in data reporting
  • Support PBIS initiatives and students’ SEL needs
  • Help teachers manage classrooms
  • Communicate with families
Schoolrunner by SchoolMint logo

Empower your school with data. Schoolrunner by SchoolMint is a comprehensive management system that provides a solution for your evidence-based teaching and learning needs.

For single-site school leaders who want as much robust data as possible to guide decision-making and create a positive school climate, Schoolrunner is the right choice and offers:

  • Academics tracking
  • Custom-built behaviors and dashboards
  • Communication logging
  • Powerful, in-depth data reporting
  • Messaging in a family’s at-home language

K-12 Strategic Enrollment Management

Today, enrollment is more than just registering a student in a class. Enrollment is now a strategic process, one that includes several components, which we will continue to outline in the coming weeks.

Last week, we talked about the customer service component. And above, you learned about the school climate and culture side.

Join us after the Thanksgiving break, when we’ll cover the fourth reason regarding how families choose K-12 schools!



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