School Climate Change: How Do I Build a Positive Environment for Learning?

School Climate Change: How Do I Build a Positive Environment for Learning?

School Climate Change: How Do I Build a Positive Environment for Learning?

School Climate Change: How Do I Build a Positive Environment for Learning?

Synopsis

Students and educators today face obstacles to student achievement, well-being, and success that are above and beyond traditional instructional and assessment concerns. From low school morale to bullying to shootings, school climate has become a national and global concern.Research overwhelmingly indicates that a positive school climate promotes cooperative learning, group cohesion, respect, and mutual trust--all of which have in turn been shown to improve the learning environment. in short, a positive school climate is directly related to improved academic achievement at all levels of schooling.In this ASCD Arias book, Peter DeWitt and Sean Slade explain the most important aspects of school climate and how we can make positive changes in our schools. Readers will learn• How to engage students and school stakeholders.• How to empower staff and students and foster autonomy so people take ownership of their ideas and the learning process.• How to promote inclusivity and equity throughout the school.• How to create a welcoming, cooperative, and safe school environment that nurtures students' social-emotional needs.

Excerpt

With every interaction in a school, we are either building
community or destroying it
.

—James Comer

As we write, the news reports a story of another school shooting. The most upsetting part might be that we have to use the word another. In the past decade, we have seen too many news stories that use the words school and shooting in the same sentence. We have also heard story after story of rampant bullying both within school walls and on the Internet. All of these incidents of tragedy and conflict affect school climate.

In addition to violence, bullying, and harassment in schools, many school personnel are combating low morale and increased stress levels. We are in an era of increased accountability and, as a consequence, increased repercussions. There are high-stakes tests tied to teacher and administrator evaluation, and many of us hear how morale is at an all-time low. It seems as though this claim has been made every year for the past few years. All of this obviously weighs heavily on our minds. We are aware of the need to create a positive and inclusive school environment, and there is no better time than now to do it. Our students deserve a positive start to their adult lives, and a supportive school climate will help us achieve that outcome.

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