Purpose: In addition to addressing academic rigor, instructional strategies, teacher qualifications, and class size, the learning environment plays an equally important role in improving student academic achievement. The first step in creating a positive learning climate is understanding the laws addressing school safety. Element 1 offers basic information on the legal aspects of school safety.
Guideline: District and school policies/handbooks state how student behavior situations will be handled. It is imperative such documents are in compliance with applicable state and federal laws. Failure in this regard may leave the district/school and its staff members in a precarious situation. District/school staff members, in conjunction with legal counsel, should assure policies and handbooks are aligned with relevant state and federal school safety laws.
This Vermont Department of Education publication offers a checklist for reviewing a school safety program. Though intended for Vermont schools, educators in other states may find its general content useful.
This resource is part of Education Northwest's series of safe schools guidebooks. This guide addresses School Policies and Legal Issues Supporting Safe Schools.
Purpose: Assessing the school's learning climate involves looking at student behavior, school culture, physical environment, family and community involvement, and interactions with other government agencies. Element 2 outlines the tasks involved in creating a profile of the school's learning climate.
Purpose: Addressing school climate is an important aspect of improving academic performance. Taking a comprehensive look at a school's climate addresses focus areas that merit attention and communicates intended methods and strategies to the staff members, students, and other relevant constituent groups. Element 3 outlines the tasks involved with creating a positive school climate.
Purpose: Improvement is achieved through the effective implementation of chosen strategies. To be successful, the principal should monitor the school's progress towards implementing the selected strategies. Element 4 outlines the steps for implementing the strategies aimed at improving a school's climate.