The Colorado Department of Education’s Response to Intervention (RtI) Guidebook (Colorado RtI Guidebook, 2010) defines a positive school climate and culture as
- an environment that is proactive, safe, and culturally responsive
- an environment of high expectations for adults and students where it is believed that all can and will succeed given the appropriate support
- an environment built upon a caring school community that welcomes, honors, supports, and builds relationships with diverse learners and families to increase academic and social emotional outcomes for all
Research clearly demonstrates that positive school climate and culture is an essential component to bully prevention and intervention (Stop Bullying Now, 2011). In order for specific bully prevention or intervention practices, strategies, or programs to work efficiently and effectively schools must start with a school climate that is safe, equitable, and positive for staff and students alike.
The Colorado Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Initiative has worked across Colorado for the past ten years to help schools and districts create safe, equitable, and efficient school environments with quality. PBIS is a decision making framework that guides selection, integration, and implementation of the best evidence-based academic and behavioral practices for improving important academic and behavior outcomes for all students while creating a positive school climate and culture (www.pbis.org). Currently, the CO PBIS Initiative has trained 814 sites across the state.
The United States Department of Education put forth a Safe and Supportive Model in 2010. It is important to remember that school climate is the holistic foundation for this model and that each of the components can be integrated in order to address with efficiency. More information regarding this model is available at Safe and Supportive Schools
Safe and Supportive Schools Model
(US Department of Education, 2010)
|Relationships||Emotional Safety||Physical Environment|
|Respect for Diversity||Physical Safety||Academic Environment|
|School Participation||Substance Use||Wellness|