School Climate: Tips for Making Yours Awesome

If you're a teacher or a principal, you're probably thinking a lot about how to start the year off by creating a positive school climate. Here are three tips to help you do just that.
  1. Encourage Courtesy.
    Make it a priority to model an attitude of respect. Even if students, parents, or other staff aren't immediately courteous in return, know that your own positive behavior will foster a school climate that values respect among everyone.

  2. Assess Your Environment.
    How your school looks and feels lets staff, students, and visitors know what to expect. Are parking lots, hallways, and classrooms clean and free of litter? Is the lighting adequate everywhere? Where could students or staff become isolated or be most vulnerable? Are there accessible emergency escape routes? Do you have a solid reporting system in place so school safety concerns can be identified and resolved?

  3. Pay Attention to Warning Signs.
    Watch for cues that indicate distress. Changes in a student's behavior, routines, facial expressions, posture, and tone or volume of voice can alert you to their intentions—and help you take a supportive attitude that focuses on prevention.

Check out our free eBook, Creating a Safe and Caring School, for more about cultivating a positive school climate. The eBook details the importance of:
  1. Establishing a commitment to safety that everyone shares.
    From administration to teachers to support staff to students and parents, everyone should play a role in making sure that your school climate is safe and enriching for all.
  2. Having policies and procedures in place.
    In order to ensure that everyone is a part of a shared vision, it's important to establish plans and outline expectations.
  3. Having staff development plans in place.
    Staff come to the job with teaching skills, and become even more effective as educators when they have the skills and training to prevent and de-escalate challenging behavior.
For more tips on creating a positive learning climate, check out this Greater Good Science Center article. Three steps for boosting positivity include:
  1. Assess the current climate.
  2. Create a shared vision.
  3. Work together to carry out the shared vision.
From finding out what your coworkers think of your school's current physical, social, and emotional environment to including students and parents in discussions about what your school should be like, you can build a school culture that allows you to worry less about safety so you can focus more on teaching.

Learn more about assessing and improving school climate and culture.

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