How To Improve School Culture And Climate


5 Tips for Creating a Positive School Culture

Interested in learning more about how to create a healthy learning environment for kids and school personnel? Are you thinking about the present culture of your current school? What are the feelings of kids and staff members while they are in the school building? It is your responsibility as a school administrator to foster a healthy school climate since it will influence whether or not children feel comfortable in the classroom and will therefore influence their progress. Having a healthy workplace culture has an influence on the work experience, just as it does in any other employment or professional setting.

Having a venue that recognizes their contributions while also acknowledging their diversity benefits the whole student population, as well as the faculty and administrative staff.

→ Download the FREE PBIS and Culture Playbook“6 Steps To A Positive School Culture”

School culture refers to the attitudes, customs, traditions, and beliefs held by faculty and students that are recognized as being a component of the educational experience at the school. It is the responsibility of school leaders to lead these efforts, and they are supported by procedures and programs that place a strong emphasis on student achievement. It is easier for educators to offer teaching in a pleasant atmosphere when there is a defined school culture routine with clear norms, practices, feedback loops, and data strategies in place.

In order to design rules and procedures that support student learning while also creating a good and secure school environment, school leaders must first establish connections with teachers and staff, then involve student voices in the process.

In order to create a healthy school atmosphere, it is necessary to prioritize equality while also recognizing and celebrating diversity and inclusion among students and staff members.

According to the study and information gathered from students’ school experiences, there are some promising signs when it comes to gauging school culture.

  • Staff and kids have excellent, supportive interactions, which encourages pupils to learn about social and emotional issues. Staff, students, and instructors work together to provide input into school systems, procedures, and educational opportunities. Individuals who are committed to the norms, traditions, and value system that has been clearly established will be those who are participating. There are clear guidelines that include a feedback process or rewards systems that avoid negative messaging while promoting praise and incentive plans
  • There are also clear guidelines that involve a feedback process or rewards systems that avoid negative messaging while promoting praise and incentive plans. A secure and pleasant learning environment for kids is a goal, and this is fostered by instructors who are also involved and feel supported in their efforts.

Consider the following descriptions when thinking about your school. Can you describe the elements that make up a positive school climate? Students, mechanisms for classroom culture, and school-wide goals for a healthy culture are all possible items to add on your list. Consider how you may give positive feedback or assistance to kids as they learn to interact with others in a pleasant and productive manner. As a teacher develops good relationships with kids, a school’s administration must develop robust data systems to support them.

Ultimately, this information may be utilized to change the emphasis of the building’s attention away from negative school behaviors and toward positive school behaviors. A safe environment allows the classroom instructor to devote all of his or her attention to the education of the kids.

Learn how to create a positive school culture by following these 5 tips

  • It is critical for planning and execution to understand what the school data says about the culture of the school. Student surveys that evaluate the climate and views that students have can be used to assist design a strategy for the following stages. During your time as a school leader, spend time in the classroom and pay close attention to the students’ conduct and teaching techniques, and utilize this knowledge in order to decide the data that needs to be collected. Step-by-step instructions on how to put a school culture audit into action are provided by Kickboard. This will assist school administrators to gain a better understanding of the existing environment, future goals, and chances to make those goals a reality.

Engage teachersadministrators

  • By communicating with school employees about the school climate and academic standards, you may help them come up with a shared vision, such as respecting culture and instruction. School leaders give assistance to educators in the form of professional development and support, for example. This is beneficial when planning the rollout and ensuring that staff members have the necessary skills to keep the school culture work going long term. By utilizing charts or plans that clearly identify and describe the behavior, you can ensure that your responses to both bad and excellent conduct are consistent. A matrix can also assist in determining what the most acceptable reactions to a particular conduct should be.

Advocate for Parental Involvement

  • Ensure that you have clear and open communication with your children’s parents and guardians. If there were activities that were employed throughout the period of virtual learning, continue to encourage instructors to apply such practices and to call home or send handwritten messages to parents to let them know about it. Students benefit from establishing a connection between their school experience and their home environment. Others are involved in reinforcing classroom and learning standards
  • Encourage family engagement in their child’s education by keeping them informed of school rules and procedures. This also involves their participation in decision-making processes and the integration of students into the school culture. The engagement of parents provides an additional layer of support from the external school community. It promotes student growth and social-emotional learning, and it helps to establish strong ties between the school’s leadership and the students’ families.

Involve students

  • It is important to maintain positive relationships with children and their families in order for them to have a sense of belonging to the school community. When kids are engaged, they form relationships with other students that help them feel protected and welcome them into a learning environment that wants them to succeed. Additionally, they have a stronger sense of focus in school and achieve greater success
  • They are open to new ideas (and are willing to take chances)
  • And they respect and cherish the student voice. Students have opinions about what constitutes a conducive learning environment and how to build one. Taking use of student ideas to develop programs that foster a healthy school culture
  • Being in a position of leadership delivers positive experiences as a result of recognition and reward. The use of incentive programs allows instructors, staff, and students to recognize and reinforce excellent behaviors through the use of praise. “Well done!” is something that every learner enjoys hearing. They derive authenticity from their interactions with professors.

Set Clear Expectations

  • Establish good school and classroom regulations that are consistent with the aims and culture of the school. These norms and expectations should be reaffirmed orally, and they should be communicated to the child’s parents. Additionally, students will be required to adhere to these guidelines in order to foster a healthy learning environment, and they will be rewarded or recognized when they do so successfully. Good reinforcements aid in the promotion of consistent positive conduct
  • Establish suitable penalties for inappropriate bad behavior. To gather data on the usage of these consequences, what behaviors they are related with, and whether or not there is a pattern or trend in the data collected, a tracking system should be implemented
  • Teachers and school officials should also be provided with clear standards to follow when collecting data on student conduct and when imposing a penalty or incentive. This promotes fairness and, as a result, helps to the development of a healthy school culture

Develop a pleasant school and classroom environment that is consistent with the aims and culture of the school. They should be reaffirmed vocally, and they should be communicated to the child’s parents, as well. Aside from that, students will be required to abide by these guidelines in order to foster a healthy learning environment, and they will be recognized and rewarded for doing so. Positve reinforcements aid in the promotion of long-term positive conduct; provide suitable penalties for inappropriate bad behavior; To gather data on the usage of these consequences, what behavior they are related with, and whether or not there is a pattern or trend in the data collected, a tracking system should be implemented; Provide clear standards for teachers and school officials to follow when collecting data on student conduct and when imposing a punishment or rewarding good behavior.

Because of this, equity is fostered and, in turn, a healthy school culture is established.

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Remember to be patient, because great school cultures are built over time. – It is possible to bring about change at the school with a plan that instructors can implement in the classroom, the gym, and the cafeteria as well as clear expectations for conduct from students and staff. It is important for everyone engaged to have a great experience. It is advantageous to understand how to develop a healthy school culture since it may assist students, instructors, and administrators in creating an atmosphere that fosters learning and engagement for all.

How to Create a Positive School Culture and Climate?

School climates and school cultures are two notions that are closely related. Nonetheless, there are two distinct components. According to the National School Climate Council, school climate is defined by the quality and character of student life on and off the campus. It represents the attitude or sentiments of a school. School culture, on the other hand, is more closely associated with the school’s personality. It provides the following definitions:

  • Values, attitudes, and belief patterns that are shared
  • Students’ interactions with one another at school (parents’ relationships with their children’s teachers, students’ relationships with school employees)
  • Rules for school and the classroom
  • The expectations and standards of the school Various techniques of teaching and learning
  • Discipline in the classroom
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Even when the atmosphere is as bad as the stigma associated with ‘draining Monday mornings,’ the school culture determines how students and faculty will feel throughout the week, and this is especially true for kids.

8 Key Steps to Creating a Positive School Culture and Climate

Positive Action offers educational leaders with a research-based framework and important tools to enhance and maintain the atmosphere of their schools, according to the authors. Our school climate package is designed for use in elementary and secondary schools. The curriculum incorporates all of the essential elements of creating a strong school culture, including:

  1. A clear vision, school standards, objectives and expectations that promote social, emotional, and physical safety are established. Creating a safe school environment in order to foster a more positive climate
  2. Advocating for student participation in school policies and procedures, as well as for parental engagement
  3. Creating a sense of community among teachers and administrators
  4. By enforcing school and classroom regulations, we may establish limits. Providing enjoyable and rewarding experiences
  5. Creating a safe and healthy physical, emotional, and social environment for students to grow and develop
  6. And Increasing the positive atmosphere in your existing school through assessments and surveys

1 – Set a Shared-Vision and Goals

What are the expectations for the remainder of the academic year at your institution? The first step in creating a healthy school climate is for the whole school community to embrace the vision and goals of the institution. ‘It takes the entire community to teach a child,’ according to an African adage. From school leaders to kids to teaching personnel and even support workers, everyone has a voice. In order to create a favorable atmosphere for students to achieve great school results, each individual has a key role to play.

Therefore, in order to improve and maintain a pleasant school atmosphere, a sound school vision should be established and put into action.

There is a global vision that has been established by the school’s leadership and other stakeholders, but there are also individual goals that include things like

  • The expectations of parents for their children
  • The ability and dedication of the teacher to the school
  • Engagement of students and personal ambition on their part

As a school administrator or instructor, you should develop and track school goals in a manner that is both effective and efficient. Students can also be involved in defining objectives for themselves and for the school, which can be done by teachers. The strategy should provide a clear message to the participants about what is expected of them.

2 – Establish School Safety

School leaders and educators should create and track goals that are comparable to those of other schools. Student participation in defining objectives for themselves and the school may be encouraged by teachers. They should understand what is required of them if the strategy is communicated clearly.

  • Learning how to implement behavior control tactics through positive reinforcement. The lectures cover topics such as how to manage disagreements, prevent school violence, and deal with bullying. The enforcement of school regulations and disciplinary procedures – When children realize that there are repercussions for their actions, they behave more constructively. Increasing the level of protection surrounding your school is a good idea. For example, placing metal detectors and security guards around the school’s grounds
  • And

3 – Promote Positive Relationships

The quality of connections inside schools contributes to the advancement of the school’s vision, academic achievement, and school safety. It also contributes to the maintenance of a healthy school culture.

Parental Involvement

Families contribute to the improvement of the school atmosphere in a favorable way. Children are continually in the process of learning and absorbing knowledge, even when they are not in school. It assigns the critical job of nurturing their children’s brains to both school leaders and school families at the same time, which is a game changer. The Positive Action Family Kit provides parents with the tools they need to become more active in their child’s school. Parents can be active in their children’s education beyond the occasional parent-teacher meeting.

This will result in more trust and respect for hardship, as well as a stronger feeling of belonging, which will help to establish healthier interpersonal connections.

Student Engagement

There are many various sorts of pupils, and each has their own set of hurdles to overcome. Putting in place good youth development programs in your school can assist certain pupils in overcoming these challenges. Students may learn how to enhance their health and mental awareness, as well as how to create more realistic objectives for themselves in the future.

4 – Assess Your Academic Curriculum

Academic achievement in school is influenced by the quality of the learning environment. Improvements in social and emotional learning are needed. Social and emotional education aid in the development of self-awareness and social abilities in youngsters. The consequence is a decrease in incidents of school violence as well as an improvement in academic achievement. Beyond the classroom, Positive Action uses a scientifically validated strategy for social-emotional learning that has been successfully implemented in community and mental health facilities, as well as other institutions.

It also encourages positive conduct and aids in the development of healthy relationships.

Support Professional development

Create a creative and interesting curriculum for your school, and you’ll keep the pupils interested, which will help to lower the dropout rate and absence rates.

It is vital for educators to study and evaluate their own teaching approaches on a regular basis. A teacher who lacks strong motivational and interpersonal skills weakens the impact of fostering a healthy culture in the classroom. Showcases of effective teaching;

  • Students’ motivational abilities are used to motivate them to learn. Management abilities in the classroom
  • Knowing the subject, having good substance, and using an effective teaching approach
  • The ability to build relationships with pupils and serve as a role model

5 – Promote Positive Reinforcement Systems

Positive reinforcement encourages people to accomplish better and achieve greater things. It is important to recognize and celebrate one’s achievements. Teachers can help to create a healthy atmosphere in their classrooms by highlighting their students’ academic achievements. All pupils should be encouraged and supported. When a student is underperforming, it is important to be honest while being optimistic.

6 – Upkeep and Maintain the Institutional Environment

The organizational structure of your school creates the initial impression that students get of the culture and outcomes of your school. Make improvements to the physical environment of the schools. Heating, lighting, and cleanliness of the school building, as well as the availability of necessary resources, are all key aspects of school building upkeep and maintenance. The researchers came to the conclusion that good class management practices have a favorable impact on the conduct and academic success of students in the classroom.

How Does the School Climate and Culture Affect Your School Outcomes?

The culture and atmosphere of your school have a significant influence on the general school outcomes as well as the overall learning experience for young people. Consider the case of Kristin McMillan, who had a similar experience. She is a writing resident with the Arts in Education program, and she got the opportunity to work with some of the students who are a part of our Positive Action elementary school program. Kristin was dreading her first day of work from the moment she walked through the door.

  • It had a positive effect on her and transformed her entire outlook.
  • “I struggled inside the school, but as soon as I entered the door, my heart began to beat more strongly.
  • When I returned home, it seemed like I had returned to a place of light, order, and joy; it felt like I had returned to a place of belonging.
  • Their excitement was evident in the room.
  • My dream of a school, the one that drew me to the profession in the first place, was encapsulated in this statement.”

Effects of School Cultures and Climates on School Outcomes

Having a welcoming, inclusive, and pleasant school culture leads to better academic achievements, as seen in the chart below. On the other hand, toxic school cultures may bring out the worst in kids and school communities, as has been demonstrated.


  • School Climate
  • Academic Performance
  • School Community
  • Student Behavior and Character

Positive School Climate

  • Students learn the importance of generosity, trust, and respect
  • Improved school safety
  • High-quality student assistance
  • Coordinated collaboration
  • Physical and mental health are supported. Students and instructors that are very driven
  • Students continue their education because of a low dropout rate
  • A shared vision
  • High standards
  • Active parental participation
  • A positive parent-teacher connection
  • And student and teacher engagement.

Toxic School Climate

  • Bullying, rudeness, dissatisfaction with learning, rule breakers, reduced mental and physical health, alcohol and drug misuse, school violence, and weapon ownership are all issues that need to be addressed. Absenteeism, teacher fatigue, and other issues School dropouts, school conflicts, bullying and violence
  • These are all issues that concern me.

How can You Monitor and Improve your School Climate and Culture?

Which characteristics of a good school atmosphere do you believe are lacking in your school’s environment?

Do you have any ideas about how you might improve and enrich the climate at your school? There are a variety of methods for analyzing and evaluating school environment, including:

  • Participatory action research
  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Study circles
  • Interviews (with students, school employees, and school parents)
  • Town hall talks
  • Observational methods
  • Participatory action research

Student, teacher, and family surveys are becoming increasingly popular since they provide more complete data on the school atmosphere based on the many perspectives expressed. A poll, according to Edgar Schein, a leading organizational psychologist, will not uncover people’s underlying assumptions and ideas, according to Schein’s advice. School climate surveys examine several elements of a school’s culture and environment, as well as its strengths and flaws, and they are used to identify these features.

  • Safety, relationships, teaching and learning, and the institutional setting are all important considerations.

On the effects of the Positive Action program on school culture outcomes, several studies have been carried out by academics.

Is There Hope for Your School?

The answer is a resounding yes! Students are being transformed on a daily basis thanks to the availability of appropriate resources and excellent leadership. The following was taken from a 6th grader’s graduation ceremony speech in 2011: “School is no longer a joke to me. The fourth grade was the year that my life began to turn around. I had the impression that I was not in danger; I felt safe. I met new acquaintances and didn’t want to get involved in any fights. My scientific, mathematical, and physical education abilities were revealed to me.

The Essential Traits of a Positive School Climate

According to many child development and school leadership experts, the single most essential role of the principle is to create a school atmosphere in which kids feel secure, supported, engaged, and welcomed. What is the explanation behind this? The learning capacity of children who are terrified of bullies or conflicts is significantly reduced. It is more difficult for the brain to receive information and learn when it is experiencing negative feelings such as alienation or misunderstanding.

That research has discovered that a pleasant school atmosphere may increase children’ academic success, attendance, engagement, and conduct while also increasing teacher satisfaction and retention is no surprise.

Every person associated with the school—students, teachers, support staff and administrators—as well as nearly every element of their school experience—from how instructors treat pupils to whether the school facility is maintained clean—is affected by the school environment.

Here are four largely agreed-upon components of a healthy school climate, along with explanations of why they are important and suggestions for how principals might enhance them.

Strong relationships are the foundation.

Do students at your school find it simple to communicate with their teachers? Consider whether or not they believe there is a teacher who would notice their absence. The environment of a school is built on the foundation of positive and secure interactions between staff, students, and caregivers. It is critical for children to feel known and supported in their educational setting. And while this may seem like common sense, it is something that many schools find difficult to do. According to Elaine Allensworth, the head of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, which has extensively researched administrators’ responsibilities in setting school climate, “we have discovered that a lot of people don’t understand what that means; it is not about social interactions.” “Students want to know that their professors are committed to assisting them in their academic endeavors.” Strong connections not only assist children in feeling comfortable and welcomed in their school, but they also assist them in developing the resilience necessary to cope with traumatic childhood events.

  1. There are a plethora of ways for developing interpersonal relationships.
  2. They can do daily check-in exercises in which they ask kids how they are doing and how they feel about themselves.
  3. It is possible to establish an advisory system at the middle and high school levels, in which instructors engage with a small, constant group of students on a weekly or daily basis to foster a feeling of belonging and community.
  4. Teachers who have stronger ties with their pupils believe that their work is more effective, while teachers who have tighter relationships with one another believe that they are more supported in their job.
  5. When principals actively seek parents’ opinion on how school is functioning for their children, they may build stronger ties with them.
  6. Principals may assist in the development of healthy relationships among teachers, whether in person or via video conferencing, by devoting a few minutes during staff meetings to activities that create relationships.

An example of a simple concept is a thankfulness circle, where employees are given time to think on minor favors or kindnesses they have received from their coworkers in the recent past and to express their thanks to one another directly.

High academic expectations, yes, but also strong supports.

How many instructors believe that preparing pupils for college success is an essential component of their job description. Is it possible for students of any race, ethnicity, or cultural background to be encouraged to enroll in tough courses at the school? Another characteristic of a positive school atmosphere is the presence of instructors who have high academic standards for all of their pupils. The role of educators is to assist students in creating meaningful academic objectives for themselves and to foster a strong academic culture in which post-secondary education is a priority.

  • Schools must also offer students with the resources and skills they need to reach the high standards they are setting for themselves and their peers.
  • According to Jack Baldermann, the administrator of Westmont High School in Illinois, principals must carve out time in the school timetable to provide pupils with the extra time and assistance they require.
  • we have a session when students and instructors may work on their assessment information and fine tune where they are strong and where they can grow stronger,” he explained.
  • According to Allensworth, principals should establish support systems in which kids must opt-out rather than opt-in to get assistance.
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Consistency in expectations for behavior and discipline for misbehavior.

Do adults recognize and praise students for good behavior? Is it true that school regulations are administered in the same way to all students? Do pupils believe that discipline is equitable? Another important part of a positive school atmosphere is the creation of a safe and orderly environment, and rules and discipline are instruments that principals and teachers may employ to achieve this goal. Schools, on the other hand, must set clear standards for conduct, educate students how to achieve those goals, and recognize when kids meet those requirements.

  1. When discipline is utilized, it is sensitive to the preservation of relationships and the respect for the dignity of pupils.
  2. It is important to ensure that there are procedures in place for students with disabilities, and that all students are disciplined in accordance with established procedures.
  3. There are several techniques for enhancing school discipline, including the use of restorative justice practices, positive behavioral interventions and supports, and the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports.
  4. Students don’t perceive regulations as fair when they aren’t implemented consistently, according to him.
  5. Principals might begin by analyzing the disciplinary data to check for patterns, as well as the procedures for discipline referrals, in order to ensure that policies are being implemented consistently throughout the school.
  6. This may be done in person or through anonymous surveys.

It is critical for administrators to explain new expectations to their staff and to provide them with proper training on how to execute new disciplinary programs. Any changes to discipline rules can become a major cause of tension between principals and instructors.

Regular collection of feedback, followed by adjustments.

When a new program is implemented in a school, does the administration follow up to ensure that it is successful? Subtly eliciting input on how the school community is experiencing school life lies behind the powerful connections, high yet supported academic standards, and deliberate discipline of school leaders who are effective in establishing and maintaining a healthy school environment. In order to do this, students, faculty, and parents are polled many times each year with questions similar to those presented throughout this article.

According to Huang, trying to fly a plane without data is like to trying to fly a plane without instruments.

Data reveals flaws that need to be addressed, and it offers feedback on whether a new strategy is effective in enhancing school atmosphere and reducing bullying.

It’s vital to realize that not all kids will have the same experience with their school, and that individual students’ opinions of their school’s environment and culture are important to their learning.

Other components of school climate:

There isn’t complete agreement on all of the factors that contribute to a positive school atmosphere and culture. Some definitions of school climate focus on aspects such as social and academic climate, but other definitions include physical characteristics such as how clean the building is and whether the lights and heating are working properly, which creates a welcoming environment and demonstrates to students that school leaders are concerned about their comfort. In addition to procedural concerns such as having emergency procedures in place, which can influence perceptions of safety, extracurricular activities that foster community building such as clubs and events can be included in the school environment category.

Arianna Prothero is a reporter for Education Week who focuses on student well-being and academic achievement.

Education Week has all editorial responsibility over the content of this story, including the use of quotes. It first appeared in the October 14, 2020 issue of Education Weekas an excerpt from the essay. The Characteristics of a Positive School Climate (Part 1)

5 Ways Principals Can Establish a Strong School Climate

Most importantly, maybe more than any other aspect of teaching, the administrator is responsible for making a school seem secure, welcome, and uplifting to kids. After all, it is the principal who, through his or her everyday actions and interactions with teachers, families, and students, sets the tone for a school’s culture. It is also the principal who puts in motion the key elements of school climate work, such as social-emotional learning, youth voice and leadership programs, and restorative practices.

Despite the fact that the mechanics of school climate work are more difficult, experts believe the fundamental principles of school climate work remain the same.

The American Institutes for Research’s David Osher, vice president and institute fellow, explained that “whether or not you feel safe, whether or not you feel engaged and connected and cared about, by the people who are teaching you and working around you, and whether or not you experience some level of challenge and support to meet the challenge—those are things that matter whether you are learning virtually or in school, whether you are in the middle of a pandemic, or on vacation.” In fact, principals assert that the uncertainty around COVID-19 and the stress it places on families, along with the continuous demonstrations against institutional racism that have taken place since the summer, make school environment work more important than ever.

Digital Pioneers Academy is a computer-science charter middle school in the District of Columbia that serves an almost entirely Black student population.

It also provides the message that kids can still learn even in the most bizarre of conditions, which is important.

Here are five suggestions for principals to consider.

Stay visible, communicate religiously, and enlist parent feedback.

In the principal’s climate arsenal, visibility is one of the most potent weapons: greeting kids as they enter the school, being a presence in the corridors, and making yourself available to parents are all examples of visibility. “The principal’s first responsibility is to ensure that everyone feels secure, and the best approach to ensure that people feel safe is to be fully present and attentive to their needs. Suki Steinhauser, the chief executive officer of Communities in Schools of Central Texas, described it as “the equivalent of being at the bus stop every morning.” Currently, her organization collaborates with 96 schools across the state, providing both individual student case management and whole-school efforts to enhance school environment.

  1. In the case of Digital Pioneers, Ashton refers to this as KLR, or the process of creating a “known, loved, and respected” community that is shared equally by parents and children.
  2. Also included is an advisor system, under which each adult in the school visits around eight families twice a week to communicate academic and behavioral progress with them while also answering any issues they may have.
  3. Since the beginning of the school year, these engagement tactics have resulted in a 95 percent attendance rate, which is defined as attending at least two out of the three main synchronous blocks of instruction.
  4. “The most common piece of input from families that participated was that communication is one of the things that is working well, which is quite essential,” Ashton said.
  5. For a while, several parents were wary of providing their candid comments, questioning if officials were truly interested in hearing their opinions.
  6. Some of the forums have seen more than 200 parents and people of the community participate.
  7. As if to say, “Oh, that’s how we do it?” they just plunge right in and soar.
  8. Parents were dissatisfied with the first week of the 2020-21 school year and expressed their dissatisfaction to Ashton in no unclear terms.
  9. Parents who had regular, personal interaction with a principle or staff member shown a higher degree of participation, according to her observations.
  10. It is also a chance for principals at schools that have returned at least part of the time to be more visible as their schools transition to new policies, such as staggered cafeteria hours, one-way hallways, and temperature checks with the school nurse, to be more visible in new ways.

“It’s an opportunity to get the day started off well, to be there with whoever is performing the temperature checks,” Steinhauser said of the temperature checks.

Focus on the essentials in data collection.

The majority of school environment initiatives begin with some regular method of polling students about their feelings about education, particularly about their connections with their instructors and with their classmates, and then building from there. Using these tools, not only can schools engage in a continuous loop of feedback and improvement, but they can also establish a baseline and monitor progress over time. There are literally hundreds of publicly accessible tools, including some, such as the ED School Climate Surveys developed by the United States Department of Education, that are web-based platforms that may be utilized in a remote-learning environment.

  • So when a poll asks a question like “Do you feel secure at school?” or “Do you feel safe at work?” Principals will need to be aware that safety in a remote-learning environment at home is different from safety in a traditional school setting during normal school operations.
  • “There are items in right now that work, and can be made to work,” he said.
  • “You also want to know whether or not students believe that the teacher is paying attention to them and responding to them,” he explained.
  • School administrators will need to be cautious in how they interpret the results of the survey.
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Create dedicated times for students to share how they’re feeling.

A regular method of surveying students about their feelings about school, particularly about their relationships with their teachers and with their peers, is the starting point for the majority of school climate initiatives. Using these tools, not only can schools engage in a continuous loop of feedback and correction, but they can also establish a baseline and measure progress over time. Numerous publicly accessible tools, including some developed by the United States Department of Education, such as the ED School Climate Surveys, are available online and may be utilized in a remote-learning environment with no difficulty.

For example, when a poll asks a question such as “Do you feel secure at school,” the answer is “Yes.” In order to provide safety in a remote-learning environment at home, administrators will need to be aware that this differs from the safety required during normal school operations.

“There are items in right now that work, or can be made to work,” he said.

Also, you’re interested in whether or not students believe that the teacher is paying attention to them and reacting to their questions,” he explained.

When it comes to interpreting the data, school administrators will need to be very cautious. Creating a new baseline may be necessary since data obtained during remote learning will not be directly comparable to data collected previously.

Meet families where they are.

While the epidemic has brought to light significant discrepancies in public education, it has also called into question the concept that some parents are unconcerned with the quality of their children’s education. Instead, parents have taken the lead in calling for more synchronous instruction and higher-quality learning activities, and school officials are typically more sensitive to the difficulties that parents have in juggling work, child care, and transportation obligations than they are.

  • Tulsa, Oklahoma, principal of Monroe Demonstration Academy, a middle school with around 850 pupils, has pioneered an innovative strategy to bringing education into the communities in which children and their families reside.
  • Because of a partnership with the Tulsa Housing Authority, the school now conducts “satellite office hours” in one of the complexes each Monday through Thursday.
  • In addition to asking technical concerns regarding the district’s dispersed learning devices, many parents also stop by to pick up distant learning supplements and fill out applications for aid programs or scholarship opportunities.
  • “From my opinion, being in the community and being with your students, as well as being in areas where your students are, and showing up, is really important,” Kaiser added.
  • “This is our mission here at Monroe.”

Distribute leadership—for staff and for students.

According to the experts, now is not the time to take a lone-wolf approach to leadership. In addition to making procedures more efficient and new regulations less cumbersome, spreading leadership may aid in the development of buy-in for the new schedules and responsibilities. “There are at least three reasons why you disperse leadership. If a process is efficient, the more the number of people who are participating, and the greater the number of views you have to make whatever you do better. The second reason is that you want to spread the load of responsibility amongst your colleagues.

  1. ‘I would love for you to be a part of this process,’ I would say to my colleagues in a circumstance when people’s bandwidth is severely limited.
  2. Even if you don’t agree, I still want to hear your thoughts.
  3. Kaiser’s school in Tulsa has established what it is calling alignment teams, which will function similarly to work groups in order to address difficulties.
  4. Teachers from a variety of subject areas will apply to serve on the committees, and ultimately members of the community will as well.
  5. While the epidemic has caused many inconveniences, it has also provided an opportunity to provide fresh leadership chances to a population that is frequently overlooked: students.
  6. According to Osher, “I would attempt to develop some means of mentoring and working with young people where they could assist with data collecting digitally.” “I believe that when it is youth-to-youth, you will receive higher-quality work as well as greater response rates.
  7. Children who demonstrate perseverance or leadership traits are always present, even if they haven’t been recognized or given the opportunity to take the reins.
  8. The NoVo Foundation has provided a grant to fund coverage of social and emotional learning, which may be found here.

Education Week has all editorial responsibility over the content of this story, including the use of quotes. It first appeared in the October 14, 2020 issue of Education Weekas an excerpt from the essay. 5 Ways in Which Principals Can Create a Positive School Environment

Improving School Climate and Culture for Student and Staff Success

Increased student participation, attendance, and accomplishment may all be attributed to a positive school atmosphere and culture that is safe and supportive. Among the many programs, studies, and resources available to help schools and districts enhance climate and culture are those listed below, which include the following:


Trauma-Informed Practice is a term that refers to the practice of treating people who have experienced trauma. Resilience Trauma-Informed Practice is a term that refers to the practice of treating people who have experienced trauma. WestEd’s Resilience Program seeks to guarantee that all children flourish by supporting child- and youth-serving systems in the following ways:

  • Achieving adult recognition of trauma as well as the possession of practical resources and tactics to assist children and teenagers suffering trauma and its consequences
  • Increasing awareness of the relevance of staff self-care and wellness activities in order to promote the long-term sustainability of trauma-informed practices Increasing the use of trauma-informed leadership, policies, practices, norms, and settings
  • And

Center for Justice Prevention Research in the WestEd School District (JPRC) JPRC recognizes the rigorous research and evaluation work that WestEd researchers are doing in the areas of school safety, violence and crime prevention, juvenile and criminal justice, as well as public health, in the Journal of Public Relations. The Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving social and emotional learning and school safety. The Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving social and emotional learning and school safety.

An Academic Success Climate: How School Climate Distinguishes Schools That Outperform the Odds in Academic Performance Adding to the growing body of evidence suggesting that school climate is an important factor in school success, this study investigates not only whether there is a link between climate and achievement, but also whether school climate can help explain why a subset of schools is consistently able to beat the odds and perform better than their peers.

  • Toolkit for Improving the Climate in Schools This toolkit, developed by REL West, is intended to assist schools, districts, and other education organizations in developing a clear and focused strategy for implementing and evaluating school climate improvement programs.
  • More information may be found in this brief film.
  • Those are some of the tactics used by Jefferson Parish Public Schools, the state’s biggest school system, to break down barriers between students and educators while promoting the implementation of restorative justice principles.
  • Giving kids a platform to express themselves.


Learn more about our four-part webinar series aimed to assist school leaders in developing and implementing policies and practices that enhance climate, engage students and staff, and meet the needs of all members of the school community. Registration is required.

  • School Climate and Wellness Foundations: Strategic Goals for Improved Teaching and Learning: School Climate and Wellness Foundations Set strategic school environment goals and encourage the participation of the whole school community to achieve them. Telling a Story with Numbers Students’ engagement and motivation can be boosted by using school climate data. In order to inform policy and practice, data on school climate should be evaluated and collected
  • Refueling in the Middle of the Year: For school-based staff, it is important to take care of themselves and their colleagues. Encourage and assist school-based personnel on a consistent basis throughout the school year. Crossing the Finish Line – Getting to the Finish Line Student Wellness and End-of-Year Transitions: Provide students with emotional and psychological support throughout the high-stress and stressful final months of the school year.


Creating a Healthy School Climate and Wellness Partnership: Collaborating to Promote Student and Staff Success Lay the groundwork for a culture of safety, support, and health – all of which are important for effective teaching and learning. In order to enhance school environment and wellbeing, the School Climate and Wellness Partnership works with schools and districts to increase the capacity of students and staff, engage stakeholders, and create and implement a school climate and wellness improvement plan.

  • The California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) is a modular, anonymous assessment recommended for students age 10 (grade 5) and above that focuses on the five most important areas for guiding school and student improvement: student connectedness, learning engagement/motivation, and attendance
  • School climate, culture, and conditions
  • School safety
  • Physical and mental well-being and social-emotional learning
  • And student supports. The survey is administered by the California Department of Education and is administered online. A confidential means to acquire staff perspectives regarding learning and teaching circumstances in order to influence choices about professional development, instruction, the deployment of learning aids, and school change is made possible through the California School Staff Survey (CSSS). Parent impressions regarding the school’s learning environment, school climate, student supports, and parent outreach and participation activities are obtained through the California School Parent Survey (CSPS), which is conducted in a confidential manner.

If you want to learn more about how to create settings that are fair, safe, and supportive, please visit ourHealth Safety and Well-Beingweb page. Visit our social media accounts — Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn — and sign up for our E-Bulletin to get the latest school climate information. Published on June 1st, 2019 by Creating a Safe School Environment More News may be found here.

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