Making Sense of School Climate and What To Do About It: A 5 Part Series

October 20 2014

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Introduction

The good news is that there is increased recognition of the value, benefits and effectiveness of implementing school climate improvement plans. The current trends, research and legislation all highlight and promote the importance of school climate as a primary cornerstone and driver for improving safety, discipline, attendance and achievement.

It’s also good to know that we have new laws that limit public schools’ use of suspension and expulsion as a consequence for certain behaviors, such as “willful defiance”, since it has been shown that excessive use of suspensions is ineffective in improving student behavior, increases the rate of dropouts and disproportionately targets minority students. Additionally, millions of grant dollars were recently awarded to states and districts to address the issues of school climate and safety.

The not so good news is that many administrators and line staff are experiencing overwhelm, frustration and confusion when dealing with the many requirements, mandates and top-down directives that they’re expected to address, all of which can lead to resistance and a significant diminishment in their likelihood of success.

In addition to several states implementing Common Core, most schools are also trying to manage and measure the effectiveness of several frameworks and initiatives dealing with discipline and behavior such as:

  • PBIS,
  • Restorative Practices,
  • Social-Emotional Learning,
  • Mental Health Services and,
  • A variety of bullying/cyber-bullying and harassment intervention and prevention models.

To address both the opportunities and the challenges, we are presenting this 5-part series of blogs to provide a clear and compelling climate roadmap for schools to use. The series highlights the following:

Part 1: Getting from the theory of school climate to the “practice” of school climate
Part 2: Assessment; learning how to know what’s working, what’s not and what’s missing
Part 3: Building stakeholder readiness and buy-in
Part 4: Implementation; how to organize, implement, and coordinate school climate initiatives, mandates, programs, and services
Part 5: Monitoring progress, collecting data, assessing outcomes and reporting successes.

Bookmark our Blog page and be sure to check back every two weeks for future installments in this series. We look forward to sharing our insights with you and invite you to respond with your ideas and questions in the Comments section below.



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