The National School Climate Center (NSCC) was founded in 1996 at Teachers College, Columbia University. NSCC’s original mission was to support the development of leaders in the field of social and emotional education.

In our first years at Columbia, we developed an annual national conference series, an annual summer institute and the Teachers College Press Social Emotional Learning Series and we began to consult to schools and districts. In 1999, the Surdna Foundation supported NSCC engaging in a strategic planning process. This led to our leaving Teachers College to become a free standing "not for profit."

In 2002, NSCC shifted its focus from “developing leaders in the field of social and emotional education”, something we still strive to do through professional development initiatives like our summer institute, to “measuring and improving school climate”. NSCC’s new mission statement recognized our work with school, district and state leaders to improve the climate for learning in our nation’s schools as well as our new measure for school climate improvement—the Comprehensive School Climate Inventory (CSCI).

With the help of a number of educational and mental health professionals, as well as an extraordinary Board of Trustees and the National School Climate Council we have grown into one the nation's leading centers in school climate reform and social, emotional and civic education.