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Positive Learning Climates KnowledgeBase

This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.

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

    •    Task 1: Review Federal Law
    •    Task 2: Become Familiar with State and Local Requirements

Activity 2: Understand Legal Implications for Schools and School Personnel

    •    Task 1: Identify Legal Rights, Responsibilities, and Risks
         ◦    Sub-Task 1: Families
         ◦    Sub-Task 2: Business Community
         ◦    Sub-Task 3: Public Safety Agencies
         ◦    Sub-Task 4: Social Service Organizations
         ◦    Sub-Task 5: Youth Gangs
    •    Task 2: Review District/School Policies and Handbooks
         ◦    Sub-Task 1: Family Factors
         ◦    Sub-Task 2: Community Factors
    •    Task 3: Communicate with the School Board
    •    Task 4: Define Requirements for District and School Staff Members

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

    •    Task 1: Get Organized for Data Collection
    •    Task 2: Collect Student Behavior Data
    •    Task 3: Study School Climate
    •    Task 4: Examine the School's Physical Environment
    •    Task 5: Assess Family and Community Factors
         ◦    Sub-Task 1: Family Factors
         ◦    Sub-Task 2: Community Factors
    •    Task 6: Identify Interactions with Other Government Agencies
    •    Task 7: Review Professional Learning Activities

Activity 2: Identify Focus Areas

    •    Task 1: School Climate
    •    Task 2: Family and Community Factors
    •    Task 3: Professional Learning
    •    Task 4: Identify Focus Areas From School/Community Snapshot

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

    •    Task 1: Organize the Team
    •    Task 2: Orient the Team
    •    Task 3: Acquire Technical Assistance

Activity 2: Develop Methods and Strategies

    •    Task 1: Review Existing Policies/Procedures
    •    Task 2: Consult with the School's Constituent Groups and Outside Experts
    •    Task 3: Incorporate Strategies Aimed at School Context and Organization
         ◦    Sub-Task 1: Bullying
         ◦    Sub-Task 2: Character Initiatives
         ◦    Sub-Task 3: Conflict Resolution
         ◦    Sub-Task 4: Cyber Bullying
         ◦    Sub-Task 5: Drug Testing
         ◦    Sub-Task 6: Extended-Time Activities
         ◦    Sub-Task 7: Harassment
         ◦    Sub-Task 8: Safe and Drug Free
         ◦    Sub-Task 9: Substance-Impacted Students
         ◦    Sub-Task 10: Student Retention
         ◦    Sub-Task 11: Zero Tolerance
    •    Task 4: Involve Families and the Community
         ◦    Sub-Task 1: Families
         ◦    Sub-Task 2: Business Community
         ◦    Sub-Task 3: Public Safety Agencies
         ◦    Sub-Task 4: Social Service Organizations
         ◦    Sub-Task 5: Youth Gangs
    •    Task 5: Establish Measurable Goals

Activity 3: Identify Resources Required to Accomplish Goals

    •    Task 1: Identify Responsibilities
    •    Task 2: Access Resources Provided Through Government Channels
    •    Task 3: Investigate Non-Governmental Resources
    •    Task 4: Identify Non-Financial Resources
    •    Task 5: Locate Resources for Professional Learning

Activity 4: Document Methods and Strategies

    •    Task 1: Record Identified Methods and Strategies
    •    Task 2: Review with the Team
    •    Task 3: Solicit Input from Constituent Groups and Outside Experts
    •    Task 4: Review with District Superintendent

lement 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

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

    •    Task 1: Identify Target Audiences
    •    Task 2: Match the Message Content with the Audience
    •    Task 3: Determine Communication Modes

Activity 2: Execute Communications Strategy

    •    Task 1: Organize to Execute Strategy
    •    Task 2: Execute Communication Strategy
    •    Task 3: Monitor Communication Activities