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.
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.
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.
Guideline: Once the strategies for improving the learning climate have been documented, the work team should review them. Appropriate revisions would be included following this review.
The Safe and Drug-Free Schools (SDFS) program and the Institute of Education Sciences established the Safe, Disciplined, and Drug-Free Schools Expert Panel in May 1998 to develop and oversee a process for identifying and designating as promising and exemplary programs that promote safe, disciplined, and drug-free schools. In the course of their work, they developed a set of criteria and indicators to evaluate the Safe, Disciplined, and Drug-Free Schools programs. While this criteria was used to evaluate exemplary and promising programs, it does offer guidance for district/school planning teams as they assess programs or activities they plan to implement in creating positive learning environments for their students.
The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (SDFSCA) encourages safe and drug-free learning environments supporting student academic achievement. While the Principles of Effectiveness described in the non-regulatory guidance for state and local grant implementation apply to SDFSCA grant recipients, these principles offer guidance for district/school planning teams as they assess programs or activities to create positive learning environments for students.
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.