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

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

Task 2: Use Data to Make Adjustments


Guideline: Implementing the strategies for improving the school's learning climate involves a cyclical process involving Planning - Doing - Checking - Acting. Acting on the results being achieved is the critical in accomplishing improvement. Data based decision making is a useful tool to determine when making adjustments to the strategies is necessary.

Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle

This link to the American Society for Quality website offers information on the plan-do-check-act cycle.


Stop-Start-Continue Worksheet

This activity adapted from "A How To Guide For School Business Partnerships" is designed to help decision makers define what is and is not working within a project and what changes should be made to the plan.

Data Use Guidance

The resource offers tips from the former New England Comprehensive Center regarding working with teams as they analyze data.

Advantages and Drawbacks of Various Data Collection Procedures

This chart compares the pros and cons of eight data collection methods.

Documenting and Reporting Progress to Inform Practice

Developed by the five former Comprehensive Technical Assistance content centers, the Handbook on Effective Implementation of School Improvement Grants aims to bolster the effective implementation of the intervention models and strategies outlined in the 2009 School Improvement Grant program. This section addresses progress reporting.


Reducing Threat from Accountability

The document summarizes five ideas to help administrators reduce the sense of threat teachers feel from accountability initiatives.

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