School Climate

Creating a space where students feel safe and valued is vital to ensure they reach their highest potential—school success, academic achievement, and social emotional well-being. By creating safe and secure learning environments, districts are also creating schools where families feel good about sending their children and engaging with, and where staff feel safe, supported, and invested in staying. More than student-focused, these environments benefit the entire school community.

Guiding Questions

  • How can we build school environments where students thrive?
  • What are some of the best practices that promote a positive school climate?
Examples, Tools and Strategies
Strategies Aligned Resources

Create a positive school climate

A positive school climate (e.g., a safe and welcoming environment; supportive academics; restorative disciplinary practices; a pleasing physical space; respectful and caring relationships and interactions) can improve attendance, achievement, retention and graduation rates.

Download the Department of Education’s Parent and Educator Guide to School Climate Resources + Add to Action Plan to plan and navigate a successful school climate improvement effort. It provides general information about the concept of school climate improvement, suggestions for leading an effective effort and helpful additional resources.

For concrete steps for leading a successful effort, download The Reference Manual on School Climate Improvements + Add to Action Plan from The National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments. Page 7 offers instructions on how to use the manual.

Use empowering language

The things teachers say can cut deeply or build a lasting foundation for success. When teachers are intentional and reflective about the language they use, they can help create a supportive classroom environment. Setting this expectation for staff and modeling it yourself can help promote positive student interactions.

Read this Edutopia article + Add to Action Plan for language ideas and inspiration. The author combed through teacher comments and articles by experienced educators to identify phrases that empower learners and create a supportive environment.

Promote good nutrition

Healthy eating is not only important for growth and development it is also important for academic performance. Districts must ensure meal programs are in place that meet community and school needs and do so without placing stigma on students receiving services. This can range from working with USDA programs to provide students with free meals through school-related feeding programs to partnering with local food pantries and farmers markets to distribute food to families.

Maximize opportunities and resources provided by the USDA + Add to Action Plan, including new flexibilities allowed to meet school needs.