FAQ's About the Summer Institute

What is the goal for the Institute?
The goal for the institute is to support the development of school climate improvement plans that will support your school actualize the new School Climate Standards.

  1. The school community has a shared vision and plan for promoting, enhancing and sustaining a positive school climate.
  2. The school community sets policies specifically promoting (a) the development and sustainability of social, emotional, ethical, civic and intellectual skills, knowledge, dispositions and engagement, and (b) a comprehensive system to address barriers to learning and teaching and reengage students who have become disengaged.
  3. The school community's practices are identified, supported and prioritized to (a) promote the learning and positive social, emotional, ethical and civic development of students, (b) enhance engagement in teaching, learning, and school-wide activities; (c) address barriers to learning and teaching and reengage those who have become disengaged; and (d) develop and sustain an appropriate operational infrastructure and capacity building mechanisms for meeting this standard.
  4. The school community creates an environment where all members are welcomed, supported, and feel safe in school: socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically.
  5. The school community develops meaningful and engaging practices, activities and norms that promote social and civic responsibilities and a commitment to social justice.

The Institute will provide important research-based school climate and instructional guidelines and resources for school teams and individuals to reflect on current practice and develop new plans to promote healthy and democratically informed schools in general and reduce bully-victim-passive bystander behavior in particular. Research shows that when schools engage in these processes over time, student achievement, civic engagement and positive youth develop¬ment significantly increases and school violence as well as student drop-out rates decreases.

Attendees will receive a number of practice and policy resources, which provides guidelines and tools to support leadership teams and school communities in addressing the tasks and challenges that define each of the five stages of the school improvement process.

Participants will join with colleagues to analyze case studies and experiences in their own schools, and to focus on ways to translate the core principles that characterize effective social, emotional, ethical and intellectual educational efforts into daily practice. Real life examples will serve as the cornerstone for all presentations.

Participants will learn about:

  • A continuous process for measuring and improving school climate that recognizes and supports the whole child and the whole school community.
  • Recent research and best practices in social, emotional, and civic education and school climate improvement efforts that support effective bully prevention, pro-upstander behavior and academic achievement.
  • Practical and helpful classroom, school-wide, and school-home-community interventions that support safety, engagement, supportive and respectful relations, and democratically informed communities.

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Essential Questions?
Throughout the Institute, two fundamental questions are asked:

  • In what ways are we already using these strategies and practices in our classrooms and/or schools?
  • What can we do to enhance our efforts in these areas?

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Will I receive any information before I attend the institute?

Prior to attending the Institute, members will receive readings, resources, and a series of questions to consider related to your school’s climate, practices, mission and goals that will support reflection and action planning at the institute. Resources will include:

  • National School Climate Standards: Benchmarks to promote effective teaching, learning and comprehensive school improvement;
  • School Climate Implementation Road Map: Promoting Democratically Informed School Communities and the Continuous Process of School Climate Improvement;
  • School Climate Guide for District Policymakers and Education Leaders;
  • Suggested readings related to the various workshops.

We recommend that individuals and/or teams meet at least once before attending the Institute to consider a series of questions that support recognizing past achievements and challenges and current goals.

Participants will also be invited to bring a number of documents (e.g. your school’s mission and vision statement and your student and if you have one, staff code of conduct.

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What to expect at the institute?
Institute sessions are varied and interactive. They include group meetings and breakout sessions in which participants have the opportunity to work in small groups and can learn about what to do, how to do it, and how to get help. A primary focus throughout the institute will be to support individuals and school teams in developing instructional and school-wide improvement action plans that can be used in their schools.

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What do we provide to participants after the institute?
We provide (optional) follow-up professional development opportunities for schools and networks of schools designed to support on-going, evidence-based school climate assessment and improvement efforts.

We also offer a School Climate Improvement Practitioner Certificate program that will be available for participants of the Institute.

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How is the Institute structured?
Institute sessions are varied and interactive. They include full-group meetings and breakout sessions in which participants have the opportunity to work in small groups and can learn about what to do, how to do it and how to get help.

The Institute integrates a variety of formats designed to enhance participants' experiences. These include:

  • Keynote presentations
  • Case studies
  • Workshops
  • Small groups: networking and action planning
  • Informal evening activities

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Who should attend?
Administrators, staff, teachers, parent liaisons, community leaders, youth development and school-based mental health professionals who work in K through 12 educations: public, parochial and independent schools. Teams are encouraged to bring 3-5 members for optimal experience. Individuals will also benefit from attending the institute.

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Will I be asked to do anything before the Institute?
As noted above, individuals and teams will be invited to (1) meet with other educators in your school to consider and reflect on past and current school improvement and climate reform as well as bully prevention efforts and current goals. When you register, we will send you a series of suggested questions to consider. And, (2) to bring the following documents to the Institute from your school:
  • Vision/mission statement;
  • Student and faculty code of conduct and student handbook;
  • Safety plan;

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How the Institute will benefit you and your school?
  • Learn about school climate standards that the National School Climate Council has developed and that the U.S. Department of Education is developing.
  • Learn about and develop plans to implement a comprehensive school climate reform in general, student engagement projects and bully prevention program that promotes UPstander behavior that will support your school’s community actualizing school climate standards.
  • Learn from current research what you can do to measure and improve school climate as well as to promote social, emotional, ethical and civic learning: the foundation for school—and life—success.
  • Work with tools/resources that you can use with colleagues, parents/guardians, community leaders and students to actualize the tasks/challenges that shape the school climate improvement process: The School Climate Implementation Road Map and the School Climate Guide for District Policy Makers and Educational Leaders.
  • Develop preliminary action plans to enhance current instructional, systemic and crisis preparedness plans.
  • Earn continuing education and (optional) academic credit.
  • Use the Institute as a first step in becoming a certified School Climate Practitioner (optional).
  • Connect with local and national colleagues to support individual learning, networking and school improvement.

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Can I get graduate college credit?
Participants may earn three graduate credits by enrolling in the course Social, Emotional and Academic Education: Theory, Research, and Practice as part of the Summer Institute. This course is offered as part of the Institute in collaboration with the CUNY School of Professional Studies. Professor Cohen leads this course. If you are interested in registering, please contact Jonathan Cohen at [email protected]

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If I have attended a past NSCC Summer Institute, what are the pros and cons of my attending for a second time?
This summer’s Institute will be of additional value to past attendees. Building on our past work in social emotional learning/character education and school climate improvement, this summer’s Institute provides an even richer array of sessions on core practices to promote safe, supportive and civil schools, including detailed guidelines on how to promote UPstander behavior. It provides a series of new practice and policy tools to support effective school climate measurement and sustaining imple¬mentation efforts.

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Are there funding streams that might support our coming to the Summer Institute?
The Summer Institute qualifies for Title II and Title IV funding under NCLB. We encourage you to allot a portion of your entitled funding toward sending a group of school personnel to our institute and help get your school on the road to safer and more supportive learning environment for your students.

Title II, Part A: Preparing, Training and Recruiting High Quality Teachers
NSCC’s Summer Institute can provide teachers with valuable skills and resources to improve school climate in the classroom and give teachers and principals the knowledge and skills to help students learn and grow in a safe and supportive environment. The Summer Institute will support teachers:
  • Improving classroom management skills
  • Understanding effective instruction strategies that are based on scientifically based research

Title IV, Part A: Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities
NSCC’s Summer Institute can help you meet the requirements of Title IV, Part A: Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities. This Institute will provide you with the tools, guidance and support you need to begin outlining and developing a comprehensive plan for a safe, engaging and drug-free school program.

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If I have additional questions, whom can I contact to talk about the Institute?
Jonathan Cohen is the director of the institute and please do write to him at [email protected]