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

Sub-task 3: Public Safety Agencies


Ignitus

Youth Crime Watch of America, Inc. (YCWA) is now known as Ignitus. As noted at its wesbite, "Ignitus Worldwide is a non-profit organization comprised of sites domestically and in 38 countries internationally. The goal of Ignitus Worldwide is to create empowering environments for youth.  An Ignitus site is established with leadership development and civic engagement as the basis for empowering youth." The website provides information about the program and related resources.

D.A.R.E.

D.A.R.E is a widely known anti-drug abuse program used in schools throughout the United States. However, schools should note there is no scientifically based research that shows the effectiveness of the program. This is important in regard to NCLB requirements for funding programs with federal dollars. Schools that are using the program seem to be doing so as part of a broader drug abuse curriculum.


Implementing an Effective School Resource Officer Program

This fact sheet from the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado discusses the roles and responsibilities of a school resource officer and provides a description of a model program.

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