This Spotlight highlights three new resources that explore the qualities schools and districts need to cultivate a strong sense of safety for students, teachers, and leaders. 

Educators can use these resources to gain a deeper and broader understanding of school safety and to build and maintain more equitable systems that contribute to the success of learning recovery and acceleration initiatives.

A New Way of Looking at School Safety

Reimagining School Safety social imageReimagining School Safety: A Guide for Schools and Districts, developed by the national Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety, aims to help education professionals reimagine and redefine school safety such that safety does not represent the absence of a negative but rather the presence of positive elements like interconnection, belonging, voice, and agency. 

Further, working from this paradigm of safety and centering the lived experiences of students and families—especially those who have not traditionally had access to institutional power—can be a critical component of designing more equitable and sustainable systems. 

In this post, WestEd’s Laura Buckner explores how the guide is used as part of the curriculum in one New Orleans classroom and how the work is helping to cultivate student leadership and a deeper understanding of what it means to be safe at school.

Read the full story.

Leading Voices Podcast, Episode 3: Sustaining Education Leaders of Color

Erin BrowderResearch shows effective and supported education leaders, particularly principals, can significantly impact student achievement outcomes. Their impact is schoolwide. How can we best support them?

In this Leading Voices episode, host Danny Torres and Dr. Erin Browder, Senior Program Associate at WestEd, discuss the pressing and enduring needs of leaders of color and the work the education community must do to address the systemic inequities that threaten leaders’ health and well-being. Their conversation touches upon the following topics:

  • The critical difference between retaining and sustaining leaders of color
  • Common inequities leaders of color face every day
  • What is necessary to create equitable systems of accountability and change
  • Why everyone benefits from addressing systemic inequities
  • The significance of culturally affirming environments

Listen now.

Calming Spaces in Schools and Classrooms

California Center for School Climate Brief: Calming Spaces in Schools and ClassroomsAs places where young people spend a significant amount of their lives, schools have an immense opportunity to regularly attend to students’ social, emotional, and mental health needs. Educators can integrate calming spaces into a school’s comprehensive strategy to provide nurturing environments that foster positive student development and prevent harmful and persistent distress.

This brief describes calming spaces and the potential positive impacts that offering such spaces in schools or classrooms can have on students’ mental health and learning. It features several examples of calming spaces and related resources from California and beyond, explains how calming spaces align with other initiatives for supporting student well-being and offers practical guidance for educators to consider when setting up their own calming spaces.

Read this resource.

Receive the E-Bulletin in Your Inbox

E-Bulletin November 2022Stay informed about WestEd’s research, resources, services, events, and career opportunities by subscribing to our E-Bulletin. Our latest issue explores reimagining school safety in more depth. Topics include:

  • A New Way of Looking at School Safety 
  • Sustaining Education Leaders of Color 
  • Calming Spaces in Schools and Classrooms 
  • Co-Creating School Climate With Students 
  • Integrating Identity Affirmation With Teaching and Learning 
  • Why Having Police in Schools May Not Equal School Safety 
  • Restorative Practices That Create Strong Communities 
  • Rooting Social and Emotional Well-Being Efforts in Equity 
  • Connecting the Brain and Body to Support Equity Work 

Read the latest issue.

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