School Climate: Part of Comprehensive Approach to Reducing Violence
A positive school climate is an essential component for improving school safety and student academic achievement.
WestEd recently co-hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill with The Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University. The Congressional briefing brought together the nation’s leading researchers and policymakers to discuss evidence-based strategies and cutting-edge approaches to improving school safety.
Presenting to an audience of approximately 250 policymakers, researchers, educators, police, and philanthropic leaders, Austin described three fundamental supports for violence prevention and safety in schools:
- Positive relationships among students and staff
- Shared norms and high expectations around achievement and positive, non-violent behavior
- Opportunities for meaningful participation and decision-making
Austin, Director of WestEd’s Health & Justice Program, and his research team recently assessed the needs of students, school staff, and parents participating in a California school climate survey developed and administered by WestEd.
Schools using the survey results to guide decision-making and implement strategies showed a significantly higher positive school climate compared to demographically similar schools.
“A positive school climate is essential for kids,” said Austin, adding that it “leads to positive outcomes in a wide range of areas: academic, social, emotional, behavioral, health—all resulting in safe schools.”
View Austin’s presentation, along with those of the other key presenters, on the Congressional Briefing: School Safety and Violence web page.
Posted on March 2, 2015