School Culture and Climate
ASCD's A Lexicon of Learning defines school climate and school culture as:
The sum of the values, cultures, safety practices, and organizational structures within a school that cause it to function and react in particular ways.
Some schools are said to have a nurturing environment that recognizes children and treats them as individuals; others may have the feel of authoritarian structures where rules are strictly enforced and hierarchical control is strong.
Teaching practices, diversity, and the relationships among administrators, teachers, parents, and students contribute to school climate.
Although the two terms are somewhat interchangeable, school climate refers mostly to the school's effects on students, whereas school culture refers more to the way teachers and other staff members work together.
What the Experts Say
Hear what ASCD's authors and experts have to say about school climate and culture.