The Positive Learning Climates KnowledgeBase

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

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

Task 1: Organize the Team


Guideline: When organizing a work team, attention must be given to its membership, purpose, required resources, and the time commitment needed to fulfill its tasks. Such a foundation is necessary to form an effective team.

Characteristics of Effective Team Members

This checklist excerpted from the National School Boards Foundation's Education Leadership Toolkit contains six statements regarding characteristics that make effective team members.


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.

Guidelines for Effective Team Members

Excerpted from the National School Boards Foundation's Education Leadership Toolkit, these guidelines offer a list of recommended behaviors for effective team participation.

Developing Effective Interdisciplinary Focus Teams

This Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) guide was designed to assist schools in implementing an effective team approach to school improvement. Though intended to support specific SREB programs, the content may be useful to a school organizing a school improvement team.

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