There is increasing federal support and endorsement for school climate improvement efforts from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Institute for Educational Sciences, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA). This support, in conjunction with growing concerns about bullying, harassment, and punitive zero tolerance practices that lead to discriminatory discipline practices, is contributing to a growing number of State Education Agencies (SEAs), State legislatures, and districts developing school climate policies, regulations, and legislation. Additionally, a majority of the states that have applied for ESEA waivers to opt-out of the current NCLB accountability system have included school climate and/or prosocial education as part of their approved alternative approaches.

Despite these trends, a recent national survey reveals that the majority of school leaders report needing more detailed policy and practice guidelines along with related tools that support meaningful school climate improvement efforts. Clearly, an improved understanding of how robust school climate policies support a comprehensive school climate improvement process is very much needed.

School Climate Policy Institute

Supporting student learning, healthy development, school connectedness and effective bully-victim-bystander improvement efforts. Learn how to commit your districts to the school climate your students need to succeed.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Policy Institute is being postponed until Fall/early Winter of 2014. We apologize for any inconvenience.


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The symptoms are bad enough: Bullying; Alienation; Disrespect. But the results are even worse: Suicide; Dropping out; Discrimination; Failure. And for some, a route to prison.

When a school’s climate is negative, it does not matter what else is going on. The net result is mission failure. Our children are not prepared to be productive adults.

The National School Climate Center is committed to helping schools develop and implement school climate policies that do more than just deal with the results of failures in the social, emotional, and civic development of our students, from childhood through the teen years. Our goal is prevention of such failures in the first place. We are confident we have found ways for schools and parents to nurture children to grow up into the adults we want them to be.

Our goal for the Policy Institute is simple: Provide you with policies that build positive school climate and arm you with the research to convince your school community it is time to commit to prevention and to effective support for the social, emotional, and civic development of our students.

For those who are tired of feeling like so much effort, time and money is spent on merely handling “problems” that nevertheless continue to recur, school climate improvement offers a solution that does more than just help you apply one more Band-Aid. The right school climate policies can enhance every fundamental measure by which you assess the success of your schools. School climate improvement recognizes the prosocial (SEL and character education) as well as academic aspects of student learning and also can ignite students’ and adults’ intrinsic motivation to be co-learners and co-leaders in the school improvement process. These policies can increase student achievement, reduce dropouts, improve bully-victim-bystander behavior and enhance student engagement at school and in the community.

If these issues and goals resonate with you, join us at the Policy Institute, and become one of the supporters of our movement to improve school climate at every school in America—including yours.

Building on our inaugural School Climate Policy Institute in July 2013, this second Policy Institute will enable participants to:

  1. Critically analyze their school's current policy(ies) and its alignment with a comprehensive school climate policy
  2. Develop plans that will support you creating your own school climate policies that your Board can adapt or adopt
  3. Reflect on a district level case study: Understanding challenges, potential solutions and opportunities
  4. Consider how school climate policy supports civil rights issues (bias-based harassment) and how PBIS is and is not aligned with school climate improvement efforts
  5. Garner information, guidelines, “talking points” and research summaries that support effective advocacy efforts
  6. Join a national network of educational leaders invested in furthering research-based school climate policy and practice efforts.

Who should consider attending: District educational and school board leaders, state department of education leaders, state/national educational association leaders, legislative leaders and advocates

Fee: $250. To receive additional information about the Policy Institute contact Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D. [email protected], or to register for the event, contact Anne-Marie Stehn [email protected]

Faculty will include: Dan Bellizio, Esq. (Chief Administrative Officer, and Policy/legal Director at NSCC), Patricia A. Ciccone (Superintendent of the Westbrook CT public school district; and, an ED Week “Leader to Learn From,”), Jonathan Cohen, Ph.D. (President, NSCC; Adjunct Professor in Education and Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University), Jo Ann Freiberg, Ph.D. (Connecticut State Department of Education), Hal Kwalwasser, Esq (former, General Counsel of the Los Angeles Unified School District; author, Renewal: Remaking America’s Schools for the 21st Century), Randy Ross, MA (Senior Consultant, NSCC and, former Senior Equity Specialist, New England Equity Assistance Center at Brown University) and, Jessica Savage, Esq. (Legal and Policy Fellow, NSCC).

The NSCC Policy Institute is a vital opportunity to discuss what needs to be done to create school climates where everyone can learn.  The current fascination with standardized tests misses the forest for the trees: we’ll never get good test results if we don’t first build the right environments for learning.  If you understand that basic fact, then the NSCC Policy Institute is the right place for you.
—Kevin Jennings
Former Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools US Department of Educationt