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

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

Sub-task 1: Bullying


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.

Bullying in Schools: What Educators Can Do

This link is to an online course on bullying from the University of Wisconsin - Stout. As noted at its website, the course "explores practical instructional strategies for breaking the cycle of bullying in schools including the escalating problem of Internet cyberbullying. Each participant will walk away with a wealth of resources that are user friendly for classroom activities."


The School Bully Can Take a Toll on Your Child's Mental Health

This National Mental Health Information Center fact sheet offers parents advice on what they can do to make sure bullying does not consume their children.

Office for Civil Rights Letter on Bullying

This link is to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights letter dated October 26, 2010, on the civil rights implications associated with bullying.

A Contract on Bullying

This Tolerance.org resource provides a classroom activity from a Minnesota teacher challenging her students to stand up to verbal and physical harassment.

About Bullying

About Bullying is part of the National Mental Health Information Center's "15+ Make Time to Listen… Take Time to Talk" initiative. As noted at its website, it "provides parents and caregivers with information about bullying and methods for communicating with children about the climate of fear created by bullying."


Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies

This U.S. Department of Education report reviews state bullying laws and model policies as well as selected school district policies. Educators developing or reviewing bullying policies may find this report useful.


Bullying

This link is to bullying resources available through the U.S. National Library of Medicine.


Bullying Among Children and Youth with Disabilities and Special Needs

This LD Online article provides information about the effects of bullying on children and youth with disabilities and special needs.


Bullying Prevention Fact Sheet

This link is to a fact sheet reviewing the literature on promising interventions for preventing school violence from the Safe and Responsive Schools Project at the Indiana Education Policy Center.


Bullying at School and Cyber-Bullying Anywhere

This link to the Indicators of School Crime and Safety report addresses the incidence of bullying in school and cyberbullying.


Stop Bullying

This U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website addresses what bullying is and what students and parents can do to prevent bullying.

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