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.
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.
Guideline: Schools should consider strategies to improve the focus areas originating from the school/community snapshot. Such issues may involve bullying, character initiatives, conflict resolution, extended time activities, harassment, drugs, substance-impacted students, school environment, and student attendance. The resources provided offer guidance in these areas.
When reviewing curricula resources, questions always arise as to scientific basis and effectiveness. The Blueprints for Violence Prevention Project and the Hamilton Fish Institute each have undertaken a review of curricular resources on conflict resolution, substance abuse prevention, and violence prevention addressing those questions. The document provides links to each website.
This link is to the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. As noted at the website, "NREPP is a searchable online registry of more than 170 interventions supporting mental health promotion, substance abuse prevention, and mental health and substance abuse treatment."
As noted at its website, "Operation Respect is a non-profit organization working to transform schools, camps and organizations focused on children and youth, into more compassionate, safe and respectful environments. Founded by Peter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul & Mary, the organization disseminates educational resources that are designed to establish a climate that reduces the emotional and physical cruelty some children inflict upon each other by behaviors such as ridicule, bullying and-in extreme cases-violence."
This Alliance for Excellent Education report examines how school climate affectsstudent engagement and success. As noted in the Alliance for Excellent Education news release "The report posits that school discipline, curriculum, and teaching are interconnected and any effort to address one issue will be limited unless the other two are addressed as well. When addressed as a whole, these issues make up school climate."
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs, the Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports "aims to give schools capacity-building information and technical assistance for identifying, adapting, and sustaining effective school-wide disciplinary practices. Its offers information on positive behavior support at the school, district and state levels."
This link is to the U.S. Department of Education's website for the Office of Safe and Healthy Schools.
This National Institute of Justice Research in Brief presents findings from a national survey of elementary, middle, and secondary schools.
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.