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 3: Study School Climate

Guideline: A school's climate is impacted by the physical facility, interpersonal relationships of students and staff members, the school's neighborhood, programs/services, and academic performance. A school's climate impacts how well it is able to meet its state's academic performance standards. As a result, assessing the school's climate and its affect on students is essential to improving academic performance.

Identifying Bullying in Your School

This checklist excerpted from the U.S. Department of Justice's document, The Problem of Bullying in Schools, lists critical questions police should ask in analyzing the problem of bullying in schools, even if the answers are not always readily available. The answers to these and other questions might help police guide the school in choosing the most appropriate set of responses.

Safe Schools/Healthy Students National Evaluation School Climate Survey

This school climate survey is a product of the federal Safe Schools / Healthy Students initiative. This version is intended to be administered with a school's students.

School Safety Profiler

As noted at its website, "The School Safety Profiler is a free tool to measure perceived safety at your school, so you can reduce or prevent violence. The Profiler is designed to help you meet needs assessment requirements for school safety funds, as well as to guide you in creating a positive school environment."

The Challenge of Assessing School Climate

This article from the December 2008/January 2009 edition of ASCD's Educational Leadership publication explores issues associated with measuring school climate.

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