We all want safe and supportive schools for our children, and a key part of providing that environment in s healthy school climate. Last month, the US Department of Education released a new guide to help parents and educators improve school climate.

The guide is designed as a series of Frequently Asked Questions about school climate, starting with what school climate is and moving on to how that climate is affected by student discipline and other factors and how schools can improve. Among the questions answered by the guide are:

  • What does the research show regarding positive school climate improvement efforts?
  • How does the use of “exclusionary” student discipline (e.g., out-of-school suspension) fit within school climate improvement?
  • What if my school has never attempted a school climate improvement effort? What if my school has already started a school climate improvement effort?
  • What interventions should be used as part of a school climate improvement effort?
  • What can I do to ensure my school climate improvement effort is sustainable over the long term?

The guide is written in straightforward language and explains any educational jargon as well. Also included are examples of best practices that have been successful in schools across the country. The guide concludes with an appendix listing other programs, guides, and resources to help improve school climate.

The National PTA School of Excellence programalso fits in well with efforts to improve school climate. You can sign your PTA and school up for the 2019-2020 program now through October 1, 2019.