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 7: Harassment


Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crimes: A Guide for Schools

This reference guide developed by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) offers practical guidance for district staff members related to harassment issues. District staff members responsible for harassment issues may find the content useful in developing appropriate policies and procedures.

Office for Civil Rights Guidance on Harassment

This resource offers links to Office for Civil Rights (OCR) guidance documents addressing disability, racial, and sexual harassment in the school setting.

Harassment Training

This resource provides an example of how student harassment training has evolved at Waunakee Community Middle School in Waunakee, Wisconsin, over a 15 year period. This document summarizes the program's evolution and offers supporting materials.

Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at Schools

This link to the American Association of Univeristy Women website provides information about its Crossing the Line report on sexual harassment in schools. As noted at its website, this report is "based on findings from a nationally representative survey conducted in May and June, 2011, it presents the most comprehensive research to date on sexual harassment in grades 7-12 and reveals some sobering statistics about the prevalence of sexual harassment and the negative impact it has on students' education. The report concludes with concrete recommendations and promising practices for preventing sexual harassment directed at school administrators, educators, parents, students and community members."


Teaching Tolerance

This link to the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance project offers resources on teaching tolerance.

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