A positive school climate promotes student learning and development. A school community where everyone feels safe, respected and engaged prepares children for life in a diverse and democratic society.
When nearly one in five students is bullied each year, it’s no wonder the topic is on educators’ minds. Teachers want to make their classrooms safe, supportive learning environments. Administrators want positive school climates. Both are looking for tools to reach these goals.
Here are activities designed for educators implementing the strategies presented in Speak Up At School to create a safe school climate.
Conflict managers can help dissolve playground problems.
The oak tree where nooses were hung at the Jena High School campus in the Fall of 2006 no longer stands. It was chopped down, presumably in an effort to erase racial tension in the small Louisiana town of Jena.
A Minnesota teacher challenges her students to face up to verbal and physical harassment.
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an approach to help students improve their difficult behavior. It's based on an understanding that teachers don't control students, but instead seek to support them in their own behavior change process.
Some individuals may hesitate about adopting practices or policies that advance equality and safety for LGBTQ students.
The study of religion must serve academic purposes. Many schools approach the subject in self-contained religion courses, while others integrate the study of religion throughout coursework. Below are models and resources.
Four steps schools districts should take to increase opportunities for black students.
A bias incident is conduct, speech or expression motivated, in whole or in part, by bias or prejudice.
Some anti-bullying policies actually do more harm than good. Educators can use the following tips to intervene appropriately when bullying occurs.
“Social Justice Equity Audits” is a presentation intended to help educators move beyond simple accountability models to those that include an equity framework for school reform. This will allow educators to better meet the needs of all learners. At the center of the presentation is instruction to employ a school survey to assess the conditions for students at their school and explore what next steps teacher leaders can take to improve these conditions.
Use the following resources to assess your school's climate.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry prompts look at how students respond to mistreatment of their peers.
This planning sheet can help educators design and implement service-learning projects that support prejudice reduction. Emphasis is placed on collaboration, direct service and advocacy.
Four steps every educator should take to help ensure service projects reduce stereotyping, rather than reinforce it.
Students explore conflict resolution through 'Letters To Gabby.'
How should teachers respond to charged statements from students?
How can educators and schools create learning environments free of anti-gay discrimination?
A guide to help straight students think about the cost of homophobia in their own lives.
How to develop a world religions curriculum with inclusion and sensitivity.
If you want to include religious holidays as part of classroom inquiry, it is important to plan for them. Keep the following guidelines in mind.
A paper for school leaders by Willis D. Hawley and Rebecca Wolf describing characteristics of schools that are likely to be particularly successful in facilitating the learning of racially and ethnically diverse students.
The design principles developed by the CODA panel are meant to provide guidelines for action to those selecting or developing strategies to improve intergroup relations. They are also meant to focus discussion and research on the characteristics of program effectiveness.