Guidelines and Resources

This section of our web site provides a range of resources for members of your school community who are committed to supporting student-learning and positive youth-development. Here you will find a range of information, guidelines and tools to support your school community promoting a positive and sustained school climate in general and with regard to the four essential aspects of school climate: safety, teaching and learning, relationships, and the environment. Although this section is geared to educators, it is also relevant to parents and guardians as well as community leaders.

Promoting a Positive School Climate and Social, Emotional, Ethical and Civic Learning

Measuring and improving school climate is a process that supports social, emotional, ethical and civic education (also known as ‘social and emotional learning’ and ‘character education’): the foundation for school—and life—success.

School climate refers to 'the quality and character of school life.' It is based on patterns of school life experiences and reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching, learning and leadership practices, and organizational structures. As such, it recognizes the two essential processes - instruction and school-wide improvement efforts. To support K-12 students developing the skills, knowledge and dispositions that provide the foundation for school success and the ability to love, work and become an engaged and effective citizen, research and best practices from a number of overlapping but historically disparate traditions, including character education, school reform, social-emotional learning, community schooling, pro-social education, risk-prevention and health/mental-health promotion, have indicated that educators, parents/guardians, students and community leaders need to focus on the two processes:

  • Instruction
    Intentionally promoting students—and their own—social, emotional, ethical and civic capacities and dispositions
  • School wide improvement efforts
    Educators, parents/guardians and students learning and working together to create a climate for learning (positive school climate; supportive learning environments).

Video Multimedia—Listen to Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond talk about 'the instructional and systemic aspects of social, emotional, ethical and civic as well as intellectual education.' Click here to view video.

Video Multimedia—Listen to Neuroscientist Richard Davidson present his research on 'How social and emotional learning can affect the brain.' Click here to view video.

Videos produced by edutopia.org are used with permission and we are indebted to them for their kindness.