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

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

Sub-task 5: Youth Gangs


National Alliance of Gang Investigators

As noted at its website,"Formed in 1998, The National Alliance of Gang Investigators Associations (NAGIA) is a cooperative organization currently composed of representatives from 16 regional gang investigators associations representing over 15,000 gang investigators across the country, as well as federal agencies and other organizations involved in gang-related matters. It is dedicated to the promotion and coordination of national anti-gang strategies." This website offers resources on gang-related activity.


National Gang Center

Established by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the National Gang Center "assists policymakers, practitioners, and researchers in their efforts to reduce youth gang involvement and crime by contributing information, resources, practical tools, and expertise towards the development and implementation of effective gang prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies."


Visual Database of Extremists Symbol, Logos and Tattoos

This database, maintained by the Anti-Defamation League, offers symbols that can convey negative connotations and may be used by individuals in graffiti and or as a show of gang membership. Educators, parents, and community members may find the database useful for interpreting symbols, logos, and tattoos perceived to be associated with gang activity.


Youth Gangs

This document provides links to three articles addressing youth gangs published in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs' Juvenile Justice Bulletin. The articles offer background information on the issues associated with youth gangs.

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