The Positive Learning Climates KnowledgeBase

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

Activity 2: Understand Legal Implications for Schools and School Personnel

Task 1: Identify Legal Rights, Responsibilities, and Risks


Guideline: Local, state, and federal constitutional requirements, statutes, regulations, and judicial decisions impact the risks, rights, and responsibilities of school staff members in maintaining a safe school environment. School policies also have a role in establishing liability and affecting school staff member responsibilities. School staff members seeking to avoid liability for acts related to school violence, including the steps taken to prevent it, should be familiar with these legal requirements. The information presented here is not intended as legal guidance. For proper legal guidance, district leadership should contact their legal counsel.

Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Violence

Prepared by the International Chiefs of Police, this guide offers legal considerations for school officials when taking action to prevent or respond to violence situations. Before acting, school officials should consult with legal counsel.


School Policies and Legal Issues Supporting Safe Schools

This resource is part of Education Northwest's series of safe schools guidebooks. This guide addresses School Policies and Legal Issues Supporting Safe Schools.

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

Activity 2: Identify Focus Areas

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

Activity 2: Develop Methods and Strategies

Activity 3: Identify Resources Required to Accomplish Goals

Activity 4: Document Methods and Strategies

Element 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

Activity 2: Execute Communications Strategy