Research shows that students feel safe and empowered to thrive when learning and developing in positive school climates that support their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being.

The resources in this Spotlight offer research-informed strategies for creating a culture of care at school to support better outcomes for all learners.

Get insight and tips on promoting educator well-being, learn from students what makes a safe and supportive home environment, and find videos and other resources to support educators in addressing trauma and fostering resilience.

Adult Well-Being and Creating a Culture of Care

Image of Leading Voices PodcastIn recent years, educators have faced unprecedented upheaval and stress. While ensuring student well-being, self-care often becomes less of a priority. However, self-care is critical for educators.

In this Leading Voices episode, Dr. Christina Pate, Deputy Director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety, and host Danny Torres share a rich discussion about the importance of educator self-care for improved well-being and better student outcomes. Dr. Pate is also Director of Safe and Supportive Learning Environments (SSLE) services at WestEd.

As a leading voice in the field, Dr. Pate works to foster adult well-being, promotes trauma-informed practice and resilience, and improves cross-sector collaboration in ways that help improve outcomes for individuals and systems.

“We don’t have to be in perfect condition to be helpful,” Dr. Pate says, “but we certainly can’t be in a debilitating condition or under so much stress that we can’t really show up for other people…. To be helpful to others, we have to be helping ourselves first.”

Dr. Pate describes her experience of burnout and offers a framework for addressing educator well-being.

Listen to the inaugural episode of the new Leading Voices podcast. 

Safe and Supportive Conditions at Home Can Inform School Climate

Learning From Young People About How Safe and Supportive Conditions at Home Can Inform School ClimateEducators should consider students experts of their own experiences and essential partners in their education—a concept known as student voice.

To better understand strengths-based insights about safe, responsive home environments, the national Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety (CISELSS) at WestEd convened students from Education for Change Public Schools in Oakland, California, for a virtual focus group in fall 2021. Education for Change then conducted informal follow-up interviews with students to learn more about their experiences.

This guide and accompanying video describe how CISELSS conducted its focus group, some of the school climate ideas that emerged, and other ways that educators might center student voice in improving school climate, including:

  • Partnering with students to create safer, more supportive learning environments in the classroom by removing assumptions about what student experiences were like at home
  • Redefining traditional models of teaching and learning to center student voices
  • Inviting candid feedback and input from students about both home and school learning conditions
  • Co-creating an action plan with students to improve climate

Download this resource.

Addressing Trauma and Fostering Resilience

Adult working remotely on laptopREL West at WestEd has partnered with the California School-Based Health Alliance (CSHA) and others to offer events and learning opportunities that address the impacts of trauma on student development and communities and help build individual and community resilience.

The videos and related resources on this page share practical, evidence-based strategies for educators, health and mental health practitioners, and other social services providers to effectively address trauma and build the positive relationships and systems of support necessary to foster resilience.

Key topics include:

  • Six Strategies to Promote Student Resilience
  • Trauma, Resilience, and Cross-Sector Approaches to Supporting Kids
  • Considerations for Responding to Youth Suicide
  • Supporting the Social and Emotional Needs of Educators and Students
  • Trauma-Informed Strategies for Building Relationships with Students
  • The Importance of Trauma-Informed Practices

Access REL West’s Addressing Trauma and Fostering Resilience collection.

Read and Subscribe to the WestEd E-Bulletin for More School Culture and Climate Resources

June 2022 E-Bulletin

Read and subscribe to the WestEd E-Bulletin to access more school culture and climate resources and updates about professional development events, award-winning research, career opportunities, and more.

Topics include:

  • Adult Well-Being and Creating a Culture of Care with Dr. Christina Pate
  • Supporting the Whole Child Through An Integrated System
  • Centering Student Voices to Improve School Climate
  • Making the Brain–Body Connection to Sustain Equity Work
  • Prioritizing Culture and Climate for School Improvement
  • Addressing Trauma and Fostering Resilience
  • Six Essentials for Positive School Climate

Connect With Us

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