Outcome: Socially and Emotionally Healthy and Safe
Reporting Respect For Diversity
From 2013 to 2015, there has been a slight positive trend in this indicator.
Significance of Indicator: A school environment that is inclusive and respectful fosters healthy relationships, a sense of safety, respect for others and a supportive setting for learning.
How we are doing on this Indicator: Elementary school students report the highest levels of respect for diversity, followed by high school students, while middle school students consistently lag behind. From 2013 to 2015 there has been a slight positive trend on this indicator.
Elementary students' perceptions of how often their classmates show respect to students who are different has stayed relatively flat from 2013 to 2015. Among high school students, the data indicate an increase from 2013 to 2014. Perceived respect in middle school increased from 73% in 2013 to 79% in 2015.
what the data tell us
Definition: Percentage of students responding favorably ("a lot of the time" or "sometimes") to the statement, "My classmates show respect to other students who are different."
Data Source: Student Climate Survey, Austin Independent School District, 2015
Data Considerations: The method of reporting changed in AISD's 2015 report, so data cannot be compared prior to 2013.
The story behind the data
Although middle school students' perceptions of how often their classmates show respect to students who are different than they are has increased since the 2006-07 school year, middle school students consistently lagged behind both elementary and high school students in this area. One reason for this data pattern may be the high prevalence of bullying during middle school.
A positive school climate characterized by safety, mutual respect and acceptance of diversity, is related to higher academic achievement (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, School Connectedness, 2009). Positive, connective school climates are protecting children from risk factors including substance use, violence, truancy and other acts of misconduct. (Swearer, Espelage, Vaillancourt & Hymel, 2010)
Local efforts to improve the indicator
- AISD is Committed to Respect for All: The Austin Independent School District is dedicated to providing a positive school climate and believes that all students have the right to learn in an environment free of harassment, bullying and violence. The district continues to work with staff and community partners to prevent harassment and to foster supportive settings for all students, families and staff members. AISD's Respect for All initiative (www.austinisd.org/respectforall) focuses on building awareness and encouraging tolerance through social emotional learning, student-led initiatives and ongoing dialogues.
- The Austin Independent School District developed policy addressing discrimination, harassment and retaliation among students (FFH Local 227901, last revision October 15, 2010). Training on implementing the policy is provided annually to administrators, counselors and staff.
- AISD is implementing Social and Emotional Learning with the goal of district-wide implementation by 2015-16. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) involves the processes through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions. The SEL initiative in Austin is being implemented through the vertical team structure. Austin High and Crockett vertical teams began offering SEL programs during the 2011-12 school year and McCallum and Travis vertical teams will join the initiative during 2012-13. SEL is implemented through explicit instruction, using district curriculum and resources, within a positive school climate.
- Additionally, the AISD Athletics Department is implementing a Character Education Program in collaboration with SEL.
- AISD implements the Peer Assistance and Leadership Program (PAL), a cross-age peer mentoring and tutoring program in which selected students at the elementary, middle and high school levels are trained to work as peer helpers with younger students on their own campus or at their feeder elementary and/or middle schools. PALs work, among other issues, to create a respectful and welcoming climate at their school and educate their peers about bullying, harassment and relationship violence.
- The Anti Defamation League (ADL) initiated The No Place for Hate® campaign that provides educators and students with the resources to ensure that anti-bias and diversity education are an integral part of the school curriculum. No Place for Hate® also helps to create and sustain inclusive school environments where all students feel valued and have the opportunity to succeed by promoting respect for individual difference while challenging bigotry and prejudice. The Austin ISD is aiming to earn No Place for Hate® designation for the entire district.
- Expect Respect, SafePlace, promotes healthy teen relationships and prevents dating abuse, sexual harassment and bullying. Serving Austin schools since 1988, Expect Respect provides school-based support groups and counseling, youth leadership activities and educational programs in schools and community settings.
- Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble, a collaboration of SafePlace and Creative Action, performs original theatre on teen relationships for youth audiences. Local middle and high school age youth develop scenes, scripts, props, and scenery for a new production each year. Audience talkbacks and teacher's guides provide opportunity for dialogue after the show.
- Council on At-Risk Youth provides mentoring, case management and anger replacement training for youth in Disciplinary Alternative Education Placement. Six middle schools, ALC and three high schools currently participate.
- Gay Straight Alliance, Texas GSA Network. This high school-based program creates a safe environment to educate students and fight discrimination, harassment and violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and questioning youth.
- Where Everybody Belongs, WEB Leaders. This anti-bullying program for middle school students provides campuses with a cadre of student leaders who identify bullying behavior and help stop it. WEB gives older students permission to be aware of and report any negative behavior they see, creating a safer school for everybody.
- Rachel's Challenge inspires, equips and empowers K-12 students to make a positive difference in their world to replace bullying and violent behavior on school campuses with kindness and compassion so students can learn in a safe, respectful environment.
- Creative Action, formerly Theatre Action Project, uses the creative arts to activate the academic, social and emotional development of young people. Through interactive classroom performances, after school residencies and community based programs, a team of professional teaching artists inspire youth to be creative artists, courageous allies, critical thinkers and confident leaders in their community.