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

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

Task 3: Monitor Communication Activities


Guideline: Communication is a continuous process of informing parents and students as well as sharing progress with other constituents. Maintaining ongoing contact with parents, public safety and social service officials, community leaders, and news media contacts will enable school officials to monitor the impact of their communication activities.

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Checklist for Survey Design

Surveys are a useful tool for gathering people's perceptions, preferences, and beliefs on many topics. This checklist provides basic guidance on effective survey design.

Helpful Hints for Conducting a Focus Group

This Central Connecticut State University resource provides helpful hints for conducting a focus group.

Communication and PR: Made to Measure

This article from Strategic Communication Management outlines an approach to measuring the effectiveness of public relations activities. The concepts may be useful in assessing the effectiveness of communications activities.


Public Relations: Measuring ROI

This document offers insights about how to measure return on investment (ROI) associated with public relations activities. Though focused on healthcare, the concepts may be useful for assessing any public relations activity.