History and Purpose
The CalSCHLS system was created by the California Department of Education (CDE) in 1997 to efficiently and cost-effectively provide school districts and their partner communities with quality local data which can be used to improve student academic performance and social-emotional, behavioral, and physical health of all youth. It assesses key indicators linked to success in school, career, and life. The majority of districts in California now use CalSCHLS data as Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) indicators.
Forms to opt your elementary student into the California Healthy Kids Survey or your secondary student out of the survey can be found at the bottom of this page.
CalSCHLS began with:
- the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS); followed by
- the California School Staff Survey (CSSS); and
- the California School Parent Survey (CSPS)
All three surveys were developed by WestEd with the help of Duerr Evaluation Resources and expert advisory committees of educators, researchers, and practitioners. The staff and parent surveys were added to address the needs of districts for data on school working conditions, parent involvement, and enable comparison of staff and parent perspectives to student self-reports.
Designed as a flexible data system that meets multiple needs, all three surveys can be customized by combining different modules and adding questions. It is an ideal tool for collecting data on local priorities as part of a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).
Although the primary purpose of the system is to provide district-level reports, most districts can request school-level data, including School Climate Report Cards.
The CalSCHLS system:
- enables similar schools and districts to compare their results;
- provides aggregated county and statewide data to guide policies and programmatic efforts at these broader geographic levels, and serve as norms for comparison to local results; and
- creates a dataset about California youth, schools, and parents in order to improve understanding of the factors affecting successful school and youth outcomes and how they vary across the state.
Overview of Content
CalSCHLS, developed with the assistance of Expert Advisory Committees, is a research-based assessment of all the major domains of school climate as it affects students, staff, and parents:
- student, teacher, and parent engagement;
- school academic expectations and rigor;
- student academic mindset and learning motivation;
- positive interpersonal relationships among and between students, staff, and parents;
- opportunities for meaningful participation, decision-making, and engagement;
- school safety (social-emotional & physical), violence, victimization (bullying);
- discipline and order; clarity of rules and behavioral expectations;
- mental and physical health, including substance use, depression/suicide risk, and other health risks and learning barriers;
- student social-emotional learning and development;
- respect for diversity and equity;
- school/district supports, services, and policies related to students, staff, and parents; and
- school physical environment and facilities.
The content of the three surveys is aligned so that responses on common questions and summary measures can be compared across students, staff, and parents.
A unique feature of CalSCHLS is its strength-based focus and theoretical framework drawn from resilience and youth development research. It provides data on protective factors that mitigate against the effects of stress, trauma, and other risk factors.
Learn more about the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS).
Elementary Student Modules
The elementary core survey contains many of the same or similar items as the middle school version so that cross-survey comparisons can be made. For these items, the wording is simpler and developmentally appropriate. Intended for use in grade 5, but also appropriate for grades 3, 4, and 6. Assesses student attitudes, behaviors, and experiences related to:
- academic and social-emotional learning,
- positive development,
- overall health and well-being, and
- provides indicators to support meeting Local Control and Accountability Plan requirements.
Secondary Student Modules
The Core Module is aligned with the Local Control and Accountability Plan to assess:
- school climate and safety,
- pupil engagement,
- student supports,
- bullying, and
- substance abuse.
Demographic questions help identify the needs of key subgroups, including:
- racial/ethnic groups,
- foster youth,
- economically disadvantaged, and
- English language learners.
This module assesses:
- academic rigor and supports,
- respectful relationships and cultural sensitivity,
- the relevance of classroom lessons,
- student learning motivation and classroom involvement,
- discipline and enforcement of rules, and
- the quality of facilities maintenance.
Climate - English
Secondary School Climate - Spanish
Healthy Kids Survey Notification and Opt-IN form- Elementary - EN & SP
Healthy Kids Survey Notification and Opt-OUT form - Secondary - EN & SP