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 3: Share Findings with Constituent Groups


Guideline: Sharing the school's progress in achieving its school climate goals, with its constituent groups, is an ongoing activity. When doing so be sure to present quantitative information it is an easy to understand format and a language suitable for audience you are presenting it to. When communicating with national-origin language minority parents about school related matters the school must do so in a language they understand.

Checklist of Possible Stakeholders

A broad range of stakeholders should be involved in the improvement process. This checklist may help the improvement team identify stakeholders in its community.


Different Formats for Different Audiences

This document lists a number of different types of reports and suggests appropriate audiences for each report.

Evaluation Report Outline

This tool from The Community Toolbox is as an example of the type of content found in a typical evaluation report.

Guidelines for Effective Public Engagement

This Education Leadership Toolkit document offers five guidelines for effective public engagement. The Education Leadership Toolkit was a project of the National School Boards Foundation under a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools receiving funds under any applicable U.S. Department of Education program. School districts should ensure all staff members and outside contractors, such as counselors and interpreters, are familiar with the applicable policies on the privacy of student records.

Presenting to Difficult Audiences

Not everyone may be receptive to the message being conveyed. This document provides five recommendations for presenting difficult messages to audiences.

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.


Writing to Linguistically Diverse Audiences

Writing effectively for an audience with a wide variety of backgrounds is difficult. This page provides several resources to help writers craft their message to reach the widest possible audience.

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