Ensuring a Positive School Climate

  • When the tone, character, atmosphere and "feel" of a school are positive, that school becomes a place that students, staff, families, and community members want to be — and where teaching and learning can thrive. City Schools is working to build this positive climate in all its schools.

    Climate components

    • Positive relationships — among adults, between adults and students, among students — are critical to creating a positive school climate. When these relationships exist, students are more likely to feel safe and comfortable at school, to attend, and to participate.
    • Engaging teaching and learning is at the core of a positive classroom environment. Teachers should provide ample supports and opportunities for student success.
    • A welcoming environment shows an investment in the school and its students. Buildings should be clean, well maintained, free of clutter, well lit — and use space to highlight student work and achievement.
    • Safety — physical, mental, and emotional — is essential for students and adults. School police and other security personnel should be fully embedded in the school community and participate actively in building a positive school climate. All schools and the district have plans in place to handle emergencies.

    Building positive climate

    To help schools evaluate their climate and changes over time, the Student Support and Safety department provides reports that consider enrollment, suspensions, chronic absence, attendance and withdrawals (see sample).

    Then, a climate walk Adobe PDF icon  helps members of the school community make specific observations and create a feedback loop with school leadership regarding strengths and concerns in six areas:

    • School entrance
    • Physical environment
    • Students/staff
    • Transitions
    • Classrooms
    • Other aspects of the school environment

    A safety walk Adobe PDF icon can also be used by school police and other members of the school security team to assess the safety and security of school buildings, including visitor protocols and procedures, security of entrances and exits, and monitoring procedures.

    After reviewing the data, school climate teams draft thoughtful plans to address areas of concern and continue building positive climates and safe, supportive schools.

    More resources