A positive school climate is the cornerstone of a healthy, safe, and nurturing learning environment. To improve school climate, we need to meaningfully examine and address policies and practices that harm or alienate young people or that do not go far enough to advance health equity. This blog post highlights 5 areas in which promising legal and policy levers can transform school climate and promote healthy development of the whole child.
When it comes to policy change, school districts are uniquely positioned to effectively advance students’ health as well as their academic learning. In the United States, education policy originates at the federal level, but the specifics of these policies as well as their implementation and enforcement are largely left to state and local agencies. As a result, local jurisdictions and school districts have a number of policy opportunities to improve the climate of their schools.
1. Physical Environment
Given that more than one-sixth of the US population — including 50 million children and another 6 million adults — spends the majority of their weekdays in public K-12 schools, the physical environment in which they work, learn, and play is critical to creating a positive school climate that supports learning . . .