Secondary School Climate Survey



Per the Governor’s recommendations, DCJS is collaborating with VDOE and VDH to lessen the survey burden on schools each year. More information regarding these changes to the 2021 survey will be released this fall.  Please contact us at with any questions or concerns.



Flowchart and Individual Instructions for the 2020 Secondary School Climate Survey

General Instruction Packet 

Results for the past Secondary School Climate Survey

2020 Grades 9-12 Survey Questions

Starting in 2012-13, the School Safety Audit now includes a Secondary School Climate Survey for students and staff. The survey is a component of the annual school safety audit which school divisions are required to submit to the Virginia Center for School & Campus Safety (VCSCS), according to §22.1-279.8.B of the Code.

What is the purpose of the survey?

The purpose of the survey is to provide schools with information on school climate and safety conditions in order to maintain a safe and orderly school environment conducive to learning. The survey measures student and teacher/staff perceptions of school rules and discipline, teacher-student relationships, student engagement in school, and the extent of bullying and teasing at school.

Who will participate in the survey?

This survey is administered in alternating years; middle schools were surveyed in spring 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019. High schools were surveyed in spring 2014, 2016, 2018, and will be surveyed again in 2020. There are two companion surveys, one for students and another for teachers and other staff. All teachers and staff are asked to complete the survey. Schools may choose from two options for surveying students: (1) Survey all students; or (2) Survey a random sample of 25 students in each grade.

What are the important dates for the 2020 survey?

  • Correpondence and packets will begin going out from DCJS to divisions in November 2019

  • Schools will be asked to select their three-week survey window by January 17
  • Schools should send letters to parents/guardians (template provided) 30 days prior to their selected survey window 
  • The VCSCS and UVA will hold an informational webinar January 22, 2020
  • The DCJS survey window will open February 3, 2020 and will close March 27, 2020

How will the survey be administered?

The survey will be administered online in schools, supervised by school personnel. The survey will be anonymous, which means that students and staff will not identify themselves.

How will the survey results be used?

Data from the School Safety Survey program is combined with the Department of Education’s Discipline, Crime, and Violence database in order to identify patterns of structure and support that are associated with lower rates of discipline problems, suspensions, and expulsions, as well as more positive student and teacher perceptions of the school climate. All schools receive reports of survey results for their school so that they can identify their strengths as well as areas for improvement. There are also supplemental reports of statewide research findings showing how student discipline and support practices are associated with positive educational outcomes, including safer school conditions, fewer disciplinary consequences, greater student engagement, and higher academic achievement.  Schools can view the results of the survey after the reports are made available.  

Who conducts this survey?

The survey is conducted by the Virginia Center for School Safety in collaboration with the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and Youth Nex, the Center to Promote Positive Youth Development. Survey data are analyzed and reported by the University of Virginia, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

What can we learn from school climate surveys?

School climate surveys can provide schools with valuable information to assess student and teacher perceptions of school conditions. This information can be used to improve school discipline and student support practices in order to maintain a safe and orderly school environment conducive to learning. The University of Virginia has conducted a series of studies using school climate surveys in Virginia schools. A brief summary of this research is here.

Additionally, the University of Virginia has published several findings related to the results of previous surveys, available in this series of documents:

Contact Information

For more information, please contact Shellie Evers, School Safety Audit Coordinator at 804.629.7042 or Nikki Wilcox, Climate Survey Specialist at 804.786.3923.

Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
1100 Bank Street
Richmond, VA 23219