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Lyon professor partners with Southside, Cedar Ridge for school climate survey

This semester, two area schools will be offering their stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback about the climate on their campuses.

Lyon College Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Kim Crosby is partnering with the Cedar Ridge and Southside school districts to conduct a School Climate Survey this spring. Cedar Ridge will be conducting surveys from Monday, Feb. 10, through Thursday, Feb. 13, and Southside’s surveys will be available from Monday, March 9, through Friday, March 20.

The School Climate Surveys measure school climate across three domains: engagement, safety and environment.

Crosby will be using a platform developed by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics and the American Institutes for Research. She will survey students in grades 5-12, parents, instructional staff, and non-instructional staff to understand and support the school community’s commitment to a safe and healthy school environment. 

The surveys do not collect any personally identifiable information, and the system generates random usernames that protect the anonymity of participants.

When researching school climate two years ago, Crosby was unable to find any statewide initiatives in Arkansas. She hopes to fill that need.

“I’m hoping to start with these two schools in this round of data collection and add others in later rounds,” she said. “Ultimately, I would like  to build a good database of Arkansas schools.”

The engagement portion of the survey looks for strong relationships between students, teachers, families and schools and strong connections between schools and the community. The safety portion looks at schools and school-related activities to determine how safe students are from violence, bullying, harassment and substance abuse. The environment portion looks for appropriate facilities, well-managed classrooms, available school-based health supports and a clear, fair disciplinary policy.

Crosby said her mission is not to uncover negative information about schools.

“I’m not interested in putting out information that will be harmful to a school. I just want to get a broader look at school climate in Arkansas and provide data to participating schools that I hope will be helpful to them.”

The online survey will allow Crosby to manage the data and provide reports to superintendents at the partnering schools.

“They can use that information to see if there are issues and start working toward school improvement in those areas.”

Director of Curriculum/Federal Programs Novella Humphrey said the Southside School District values its partnership with Lyon.

“Together, we know this data can provide insights into the best ways to improve education for all students and families. We are eager to work together to make education better.”

“We are excited to partner with Lyon College and hope to gain knowledge from the survey that will continue to help Cedar Ridge improve,” said Dr. Andy Ashley, superintendent of Cedar Ridge Schools.

Once a database is formed, Crosby will be able to compare different school types and different demographics.

“It is a great opportunity for school patrons to give feedback and have a real impact on the climate in their schools,” Crosby said.

For more information, contact Crosby at kimberly.crosby@lyon.edu or 870-307-7275. Cedar Ridge patrons may also contact Brianna Goodman at brianna.goodman@cedarwolves.com or 870-201-2577. Southside patrons may contact Novella Humphrey at novella.humphrey@southsideschools.org or 870-251-2341.