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

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

Listen to NEA’s national call on School Climate and Education Justice

  • Freedom to Read

    Censoring books written by mostly Black, brown, and LGBTQ authors denies students the ability to see themselves and understand our similarities and our differences. We’re joining together to make sure every student has to look no further than the shelves of their own school libraries to find age-appropriate books that show they are reflected and respected.
  • Honesty in Education

    Together, we can demand that our schools have the resources to meet every child’s needs with well-trained and supported teachers and a curriculum that helps them reckon with and shape our future.
  • COVID-19 & Our Communities

    The 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 Justice

    Our 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 Programs

    From 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.
  • Black Lives Matter @ School

    The goal of Black Lives Matter @ School is to spark an ongoing movement of critical reflection and honest conversation in school communities for people of all ages to engage with issues of racial justice.
  • Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline

    Zero 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 Together

    Immigration 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.
  • Dreamers

    Dreamers are young, aspiring Americans – part of our communities. They are students who deserve every opportunity to learn, educators who inspire children each day, members of the military, our neighbors and friends. These are their stories. This is their voice.
  • School Safe Zones

    All students should have the opportunity to learn without the fear and distress that results from harsh immigration enforcement. Many school districts are making their campuses “safe zones” for immigrant students and communities. You can be part of this movement.
  • Protecting Our Students' Civil Rights

    In 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.
  • Supporting LGBTQ Youth

    LGTBQ students face unique challenges in our schools. They are more likely to face bullying and harassment leading to poor grades, higher dropout rates and homelessness. Safe and affirming schools are a core element of student success.
  • Educational Equity for Women and Girls

    All 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 School

    All 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.