Why is Positive School Climate considered Social Justice Action?
There is a growing realization that speaking broadly about bullying often masks issues faced by targeted populations of students like hate speech, gender and sexual orientation-based violence, cultural or religious bias and disproportionate school discipline policies.
There is a movement to address these issues by focusing on advocating for positive school climate policies and practices. Improving school professionals’ knowledge and skill when it comes to intervening and advocating in bullying situations is still an important area of concern. However, broadening our scope to school climate is key to preventing bullying, addressing inequities and to advancing education justice and opportunity for all students.
Ensuring positive school climate requires collective action.
Recent research by GLSEN reports that it takes six or more supportive adults to truly make a difference in eradicating negative outcomes, especially those most directly related to academic achievement and postsecondary aspirations.
Only half of students surveyed in the report could name six supportive educators.
Since impacting students’ school experience requires broader educator support and participation, NEA is building and identifying a critical mass among school staff –teachers, ESPs and paraprofessionals, to organize School Climate Teams in their schools.
Already organized? Just getting started? We have tools and resources for you!
Here’s How to Make an Impact!
Educators for Positive School Climate: Getting Started Checklist
Use this checklist as a guide for your team as you take steps that will make your school climate safer and more affirming. As educators we have the power to create a climate that is positive and will allow every student to realize their potential.
Preparing an action plan for the School Climate Campaign is like preparing for the beginning of a school year- get to know our team, understand what issues we face and make a plan for success. So let’s get started!
Create a Winning Team
- Find out more about who is on your team and the unique skills of each member
- Identify any important voices missing from the conversation
- Recruit other team members
- Develop a plan for how the team will stay connected
Understand the Challenges Ahead
- Identify the issues that are critical in your school with this simple school climate survey
- Deepen your understanding of how those issues play out in your school and community
- Write down who these issues effect and the impact that has on your school and community
Make a Plan for Action
- Identify the causes of the issues your students, school and community are facing
- Set specific and measurable goals (i.e. changes to school policy or district policy)
- Powermap your school community
- Develop a plan for action
- Make sure your plan will allow you to meet your overall goals
- Measure your impact and evaluate your progress along the way
Visit us at www.neaedjustice.org
- Hear from educators across the country on what their teams are planning
- Check out additional tools and resources on the NEA edJustice ISSUES pages
- Stay connected with the NEA School Climate Team and our education justice partner organizations
- Look out for advance notice on national calls, Facebook live chats and other events
COVID-19 & Our CommunitiesThe systemic inequities that are laid bare by COVID-19 increase the stressors on our students, our families and the most vulnerable in our communities. As we organize together for a better tomorrow, we are sharing ways that educators and allies are addressing the challenges and keeping us connected and caring for each other.
Racial Justice is Education JusticeOur education system is intended to uphold equal opportunity, but too often it also entrenches racial disparities by its design. We are engaging educators, students and allies to foster real dialogue around issues of racial justice in education and to mobilize and take action for education justice.
Support Ethnic Studies ProgramsFrom campaigns to require schools to offer ethnic studies courses, to efforts to change the names of schools honoring Confederate leaders, students and educators are mobilizing to include voices of the diverse ethnicities that have contributed to the history and culture of the United States.
Ending the School-to-Prison PipelineZero tolerance and other exclusionary school discipline policies are pushing kids out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system at unprecedented rates. Learn how educators, students and families are building relationships and community to address and prevent conflict.
Families Belong TogetherImmigration issues are complicated. But some things are simple. We should not punish children for decisions they didn’t make. We should not separate families. And we should provide a trusted path to citizenship for immigrant Dreamers. Read how educators are taking action on these issues.
Protecting Our Students' Civil RightsIn the face of federal civil rights rollbacks and threats, educators, parents and students are organizing to adopt school board policies that strengthen student protections. Find model policies and strategies that will empower you to ensure all students’ right to a safe and affirming school.
Educational Equity for Women and GirlsAll students deserve equal access to educational opportunities. However, girls and women often face structural barriers that threaten their success in school and beyond. Girls of color are more likely than white girls to face unfair discipline. And sexual harassment and violence in school are problems that confront most all girls. Learn how educators, students and allies are mobilizing to support the needs of all students — regardless of gender.
Facing Hate and Bias at SchoolAll students have a right to a public education in a safe learning environment. But right now, many of our students are scared, anxious, and feeling threatened. Students and educators around the country are reporting hostile and hateful environments in their schools and communities. When students feel that they are not welcome, their ability to learn and thrive is diminished.