The Positive Learning Climates KnowledgeBase

The Positive Learning Climates KnowledgeBase is an online resource to aid educators in nurturing school climates conducive to learning. It is organized around five elements aimed at developing a positive learning climate.

Element 1: Understand the Law

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.

Activity 1: Become Familiar with the Legal Aspects Concerning Safer Schools

Activity 2: Understand Legal Implications for Schools and School Personnel

Task 1: Get Organized for Data Collection

Guideline: A school and community snapshot is a collection of data sorted and analyzed to convey useful information. Misdirected data collection efforts can be costly in wasted time and misinformation they might provide. It is best first to prepare, focus on the task, and then collect the data. The resources provided offer basic information the school staff members need to get organized for data collection efforts.

Checklist for Survey Design

Surveys are a useful tool for gathering people's perceptions, preferences, and beliefs on many topics. This checklist provides basic guidance on effective survey design.

Checklist of Possible Stakeholders

A broad range of stakeholders should be involved in the improvement process. This checklist may help the improvement team identify stakeholders in its community.

Data Collection Checklists - Collecting Data

This checklist provides guidance in organizing data collection efforts.

Collecting and Using Data

This resource provides an overview of the U.S. Department of Education's handbook "Safety in Numbers: Collecting and Using Crime, Violence, and Discipline Incident Data to Make a Difference in Schools" along with a link to the complete document. The handbook defines a comprehensive data system for collecting incident data and identifies issues associated with making such a system work.

Data Collection Considerations

This resource from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Evaluation Handbook provides a list of things to consider when deciding upon data collection methods and instruments.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Various Data Collection Procedures

This chart compares the pros and cons of eight data collection methods.

Helpful Hints for Conducting a Focus Group

This Central Connecticut State University resource provides helpful hints for conducting a focus group.

Data and Information Sources

This resource provides a list of federal agencies offering data and information about children and youth related to abuse, health, juvenile crime, substance abuse, and school-related violence.

Overview of Data Collection Procedures

This document provides an overview of six data collection techniques that can be useful in profiling the school.

Element 2: Know Your School and Community

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.

Activity 1: Take a Snapshot of School and Community

Activity 2: Identify Focus Areas

Element 3: Create a Comprehensive Positive School 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.

Activity 1: Plan to Act

Activity 2: Develop Methods and Strategies

Activity 3: Identify Resources Required to Accomplish Goals

Activity 4: Document Methods and Strategies

Element 4: Implement Strategies

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.

Activity 1: Manage Implementation

Activity 2: Accomplish Change

Activity 3: Evaluate Outcomes

Element 5: Communicate with School's Constituencies

Purpose: What happens in school is community news and sometimes even draws national attention. A district's and school's communication strategies should address how behavioral incidents are handled. Element 5 provides information on communicating with the school's constituencies.

Activity 1: Develop a Communications Strategy

Activity 2: Execute Communications Strategy