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School Climate

School Climate
Leading With Collective Efficacy

First Edition

Co-Publication with OPC

August 2017 | 232 pages | Corwin

Build a positive school climate to impact students, teachers, and the community!


Is improving school climate on your to-do list? Do you think about it as a top-down directive or as a dialogue to build equity within the school? A healthy school environment should never be seen as an option, but instead supported as a must-have.


Peter DeWitt offers leaders practical high impact strategies to improve school climate, deepen involvement in student learning, and engage a broader family network. In addition to international vignettes focused on community stakeholders and research-based practices, this book features tools such as:

•  A leadership growth cycle to help leaders build their self-efficacy

•  A teacher observation cycle centered on building collective efficacy

•  An early warning system to identify potential at-risk students

•  Action steps following each chapter to apply to your own setting

•  Discussion questions for use in team environments


Establishing a supportive and inclusive school climate where professionals can take risks to improve the lives of students is vital to maximize learning in any school community.

"This is a fabulous book by a renowned expert in the field of leadership. Peter DeWitt explains the complex and credible in a way that is thought-provoking, challenging and inspiring. I love how he gives insights in what successful collaborative leadership is and shows how we can all build our skills and mindset for leading towards collective efficacy."

—James Nottingham, Challenging Learning author and creator of #TheLearningPit

JN Partnership LTD, Northumberland, United Kingdom

About the Author
Introduction: A Tale of Two Leaders
Meet Tim

Meet Trudy

Leadership and School Climate

Chapter 1. What Is Collaborative Leadership?
The Hattie Effect

The Importance of Self-Efficacy

In Pursuit of Collaboration

What the Research Says

Collaborative Leadership Framework

Collaborative Leadership Growth Cycle

In the End

Chapter 2. School Climate: Setting Up a Safe Space to Collaborate
Why Does School Climate Matter?

Collaborative Leadership Framework for Teachers

Solving the Issues: Collaboration in Action

In the End

Chapter 3. Climate Change: Raising Student Self-Efficacy
Social-Emotional Learning

Minoritized Populations

The Early Warning System (EWS)

Using the Early Warning System

A Warning About the EWS

In the End

Chapter 4. Increasing Teacher Self-Efficacy
The Cycle of Collaborative Teacher Observation: A Review

Professional Learning and Development (PLD)

Teacher Leaders and School Climate

Building Collective Efficacy Through Collaborative Inquiry

Classroom Climate

In the End

Chapter 5. Building Collective Efficacy With Families
What Do We Expect From Families?

Family Engagement Communication

Do We Openly Listen to Families?

In the End

Chapter 6. Building Our Own Self-Efficacy
A Tale of Two Leaders

What’s Your Mindset?

How Do Leaders Increase Their Own Self-Efficacy?

In the End

Collaborative Leadership Reflection Tool

Faculty Meeting Exit Ticket

Teacher Efficacy Scale (Short Form)

Collective Teacher Efficacy Scale

Leadership Self-Efficacy Scale


"Peter DeWitt has provided us with a powerful and timely book on the growing phenomenon of ‘Collective Efficacy’. The Six Chapters contain a goldmine of ideas, resources, tools, surveys, action steps and reflective questions. What I like best is that the book is grounded equally in research and practice. This is an urgently needed book, and you will learn a lot from it!"

Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus
OISE/University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

"While schools focus on common standards, data analysis, and increasing achievement, Peter DeWitt explains the critical nature of school climate and why, as the "5th C,” it is imperative for school success. As a school leader, Peter often asked thought-provoking questions, engaged in challenging conversations, and encouraged reflection, much as he does in Collaborative Leadership: A Collective Efficacy Approach to Improving School Climate.  Through interesting vignettes, personal experience, and a variety of research, Peter provides a practical approach for growing a rich, safe environment."

Melissa J. Weatherwax, M.S.Ed., Former classroom teacher
K-12 Instructional Technology Specialist, Averill Park, New York

"If you are a fan of cooperative learning like I am and believe in the power of team work, this book is for you. Whether you are a district leader, school principal or classroom teacher, you will find numerous examples and practical ideas that Peter DeWitt offers in this book useful. Collaborative Leadership shows how one plus one can sometimes be three in collectively led schools."

Pasi Sahlberg, Author
Finnish Lessons 2.0, Helsinki, Finland

"Peter’s book provides hands-on information on how collaborative leadership can help you create a school climate with the focus on learning. One in which all students (and teachers) feel they belong and are able to grow. Each chapter ends with action steps and questions to help me find the confidence to lead my team towards collective efficacy, including my own, without avoiding the tough topics."

Claire Ohlenschlager, M.Ed., English Department Chair
School of Education – Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences , Rotterdam, The Netherlands

"This is a fabulous book by a renowned expert in the field of leadership. Peter DeWitt explains the complex and credible in a way that is thought-provoking, challenging and inspiring. I love how he gives insights in what successful collaborative leadership is and shows how we can all build our skills and mindset for leading towards collective efficacy."

James Nottingham, Challenging Learning author and creator of #TheLearningPit
JN Partnership LTD, Northumberland, United Kingdom

"In School Climate: Leading With Collective Efficacy, Peter DeWitt delivers in print what he so readily delivers in person -- clarity and coherence around a most important topic. As a former high school principal and district leader, DeWitt leaves me with both the confidence that I can do this, and the understanding of how I can make progress, starting today. This is a must read for any school leader."

Kerry Alcorn, Teacher/Author/Leader
Saskatoon Public School Division, Saskatoon, Canada

"Peter DeWitt gives school leaders exactly what they need, research-based school improvement strategies that work effectively in schools today. Our instructional leadership teams, working with Peter over the past year building teachers’ self-efficacy and collective teacher efficacy, are now co-constructing a school culture where everyone not only grows, but thrives. School Climate: Leading With Collective Efficacy is a roadmap to this proven approach to student success."

Matthew Bolduc, Director of Curriculum and Professional Development
Bellingham Public Schools, Bellingham, MA

"Supported by current educational research, and grounded in powerful leadership narratives, Dewitt offers a compelling case for leaders and learning communities to collaborate to achieve collective efficacy for student success.  The practical strategies, research citations, conceptual frameworks, rubrics, and self-assessment tools provide leaders with practical instruments for reflection, setting intentions, securing accountability, and measuring the impact of a collaborative climate and culture."

Jill Ott, Project Lead-Supporting LGBTQ Students
Ontario Principals' Council, Ontario, Canada

"As educators we consistently hear about the importance of collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creatively and in School Climate, Peter DeWitt highlights the additional key element ‘Climate’. By providing action steps, discussion questions and reflective tools, this book helps guide teachers, leaders and those teachers who aspire to be leaders, to develop a positive school climate. Increased self-awareness encourages teachers to become more reflective and effective, which develops a more collaborative school climate. Providing effective strategies throughout, this book is relevant and applicable to all school contexts, teams and individuals."

Andrea Stringer, Professional Learning Coach
Sydney, Australia

"After reading DeWitt's book on collaborative leadership and school climate, my own self-efficacy improved. I closed the cover feeling empowered and eager to share what I've learned. The discussion questions bring practicality to the possibility of implementation and excitement about the potential results."

Sera Deo, MST, 4th Grade Teacher
Miller Hill Elementary School, Averill Park, NY

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

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