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: Families

Helping Your Child Become a Responsible Citizen

This U.S. Department of Education publication for parents provides activities for elementary-, middle- and high school-aged children related to proper values and behavior skills. School staff members may find it useful for sharing with parents as part of a character initiative program.

Alternate format: Spanish Format

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.

Handbook on Family and Community Engagement

Thirty-six of the best thinkers on family and community engagement were assembled to produce this Handbook. The authors tell what they know in plain language, succinctly presented in short chapters with practical suggestions for states, districts, and schools. The vignettes in the Handbook provide vivid pictures of the real life of parents, teachers, and kids.

Families, Youth and Communities

This U.S. Department of Agriculture website provides information on programs for families, youth, and communities through the National institute of Food and Agriculture.

Raising Children to Resist Violence: What Can You Do

This American Psychological Association article describes how parents can help their children resist violence in and out of school.

School Community Network

This link is to the School Community Network website. As noted at its website, "The School Community Network (SCN) provides resources and tools to build strong school communities." Families-Schools.org formerly sponsored by the Center on Innovation and Improvement is now part of the School Community Network.

Teaching Tolerance

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

Elements of Effective Family-School Partnerships

This webinar provides participants with a framework that identifies the elements of effective family-school partnerships. Participants explored four versions of family-school partnerships and assessed where their school community falls within the framework. The webinar explores various strategies to help schools move from basic levels of partnership to more effective and systemic family-school partnerships that support learning and school improvement.

Systemic Family Engagement

The purpose of this webinar is to define and demonstrate in detail what is meant by “systemic” family engagement. The webinar features “promising practice” district initiatives that spans several schools, that are linked to student learning, and engage community partners.

The Why and What of Family Engagement

The purpose of this webinar was to explore current research-based definitions of family engagement and what we now know about the impact of family engagement on student achievement and whole school reform.  The webinar explores  the meaning of "family engagement", the various was families are involved in their children's education, the impact of these various engagements in their children's edcuation.

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