Safe, Supportive, and Positive School Climate
Texas Education Code Section 38.351 and School Climate
The Texas Education Code (TEC) and the research on educational environments emphasize the importance of creating a positive, safe, and supportive school climate.
The TEC provides a definition of school climate for LEAs:
"School Climate" means the quality and character of school life, including interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures, as experienced by students enrolled in the school district, parents of those students, and personnel employed by the district.”
Establishing a Positive, Safe and Supportive School Climate represents two of the mental health components in TEC Section 38.351 for which LEAs must develop practices and procedures:
- Mental Health Promotion, Prevention, Early Intervention
- Suicide Prevention, Intervention & "Postvention"
- Substance Abuse Prevention & Intervention
- Grief-informed and Trauma-informed Practices
- Safe and Supportive School Climate
- Building skills related to emotions, positive relationships, and decision making
- Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports
- Positive Youth Development
- Positive School Climate
What tools are available for measuring school climate?
TEA and Project AWARE Texas have compiled examples of existing school climate measurement tools. LEAs may review and consider any of these tools that may be appropriate for use in the LEA. These tools and data collected can help gather stakeholder perspectives and insights as LEAs work to strengthen positive, safe, and supportive school climates.
Search the TEA and Project AWARE Texas School Climate Survey Compilation Tool Here:
Reasons Why Schools Should Measure School Climate
By measuring school climate, LEAs can assess how their stakeholders are experiencing and perceiving their engagement with the school. School climate measures can provide an LEA with important data points and insights to inform district and campus improvement plans for continuous quality improvement of the school, which impacts the quality of learning.
Why explore school climate on the road to COVID-19 recovery?
Students learn best when they are learning in environments in which they feel safe, supported, challenged, and accepted. Research shows that when schools and local education agencies (LEAs) focus on improving school climate, students are more likely to engage in the curriculum, develop positive relationships and demonstrate positive behaviors.
- School climate describes school conditions that influence student learning
- School climate affects student learning
- Measuring school climate is essential
Example of a No-Cost School Climate Improvement Resource
School Climate Indicators Measured by this Resource
There are three domains in the Safe and Supportive Learning School Climate Survey. It measures all of the critical elements of a positive, safe, and supportive school climate that meets the definition in the Texas Education Code; including tools for measuring the experience of faculty/staff, parents, and students.
- Respect for Diversity
- School Participation
- Emotional Safety
- Physical Safety
- Substance Use
- Physical Environment
- Academic Environment
- Wellness Environment
- Disciplinary Environment
Immediate School Climate Indicators to Focus on as School Reopens During COVID 19
A school climate survey is one measure to help the LEA determine the extent to which it is achieving a positive, safe and supportive school climate as students return.
Consider measuring and addressing each of the questions below:
- Engagement. How are students and families engaging with the school?
- Wellness. How is the social, emotional, mental, and behavioral health of your students and staff?
- Emotional and Physical Safety. To what extent do your stakeholders feel safe in the school?