Culture and Climate

School climate is the “quality and character of school life” based on how members of the school community experience school and the school’s “norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching, learning and leadership practices, and organizational structures” (Reference: National School Climate Council).

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Title Document Type

DRC Documents

Practices of Promise: Creating a Caring Culture Through SEL in Atlanta Public Schools

How can districts weave social and emotional learning throughout their work to foster a systemwide culture of connection and trust? Atlanta Public Schools saw SEL as a key strategy for rebuilding culture and redefining how to pursue desired outcomes. Learn more about their journey and how SEL is a focus in their offices of safety and security and human resources.


TAGS hiring practices SEL partnerships culture and climate integrate with district priorities district SEL expertise

Integrating Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (SEAD): An Action Guide for School Leadership Teams

The guide provides practical advice, curated resources, and action steps for school leaders to improve the student experience, calling out specific equity implications in every section to give these issues priority in planning.

SOURCE: The Aspen Institute

TAGS Adult SEL equity culturally responsive culture and climate

A Case for School Connectedness

Short article from Educational Leadership describing the impact of strong school connectedness on academic achievement, behavior, absenteeism, and school completion, as well as and practices that enhance it.

SOURCE: Magazine/Newsletter

TAGS bullying prevention mental health journal article relationship skills research brief advisory/homeroom middle school grades high school grades culture and climate building community integrate with district priorities

Teaching Restorative Practices with Classroom Circles

San Francisco's guide focused on the use of Circles as a proactive measure to build trust and community in a classroom. Includes sample activities and lesson plans for introducing students to restorative practices.

SOURCE: San Francisco Unified School District

TAGS teacher tool toolkit reading lists - staff culturally responsive teacher training restorative practices advisory/homeroom instructional practices classroom level culture and climate building community professional learning youth voice

Cleveland Classroom Meetings resource page

Classroom Meetings in Cleveland are used daily for community building and classroom level problem-solving and decision-making. This resource page has activities, best practices, handouts, samples that show integration with academic content, and other tools to help plan a larger scale rollout of class meetings.

SOURCE: Cleveland Metropolitan School District

TAGS teacher tool toolkit advisory/homeroom middle school grades high school grades instructional practices classroom level culture and climate building community youth voice

Indicators of Schoolwide SEL

When fully implemented, schoolwide SEL contributes to more successful and equitable outcomes for young people, and is evidenced by the following indicators.


TAGS model SEL schools culture and climate

School Climate Survey for Families

Sacramento City Unified School District used this 2 page survey to gather family members' perspectives about school culture, equity, and the quality of interactions with school staff. It has been translated into 5 other languages at

SOURCE: Sacramento City Unified School District

TAGS family partnerships community relations culture and climate family and community engagement

Chicago School Climate Standards and Self-Assessment

The Chicago Public Schools' School Climate Standards includes 17 key indicators organized into four domains: School-wide Environment and Leadership, Physical and Emotional Safety, Relational Trust, and Teaching and Learning. This document also includes a self-assessment to support school-level continuous improvement and resources to include student voice assessing school climate.

SOURCE: Chicago Public Schools

TAGS define SEL metrics implementation monitoring culture and climate youth voice

How Do Principals Influence Student Achievement?

This research brief from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research shows that administrators who successfully move the needle on student achievement most often do so through the lever of school climate and staff collaboration.

SOURCE: University/Nonprofit Research Institution

TAGS culture and climate SEL leadership

SEL In Action In A Classroom (Video)

5th grade students and their teacher speak about what SEL means to them and how it plays out in their classroom through everyday practices and interactions.

SOURCE: Anchorage Public Schools

TAGS SEL and Academic Integration videos teacher training model SEL schools elementary school grades instructional practices classroom level culture and climate building community youth voice

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