School Climate

Education specialists identify school climate as the sense of acceptance, safety, and contentment experienced among both teachers and students within a school setting (Freiberg, 1998; Peterson & Skiba, 2000; Marshall, 2004; Jones, Yonezawa, Mehan, & McClure, 2008). Positive school climates provide an environment where students feel comfortable, valued, and respected by their peers and educators. The National Center on Response to Intervention (2010) identifies positive school climate as possessing four key components: 1) creating a caring school community, 2) teaching appropriate behavior and social problem-solving skills, 3) implementing positive behavior support, and 4) providing rigorous academic instruction. Furthermore, research and practice in comprehensive school reform and school safety planning regularly demonstrate the need for developing a positive school climate characterized by consistency, tolerance, respect, clearly communicated behavior norms, problem solving and conflict resolution (Learning First Alliance, 2001; McDaniel, 2000; Tolan, 2002; USDOE, 1998). Lesson One has developed a model that directly addresses these issues and sets a new benchmark for how to teach children healthy life skills.

Jones, Yonezawa, Mehan, and McClure (2008) found that “all research on school climate finds a positive correlation between better school climate and increased student learning and achievement.” Providing students with a supportive learning environment setting that emphasizes not only classroom instruction, but the development of social and emotional skills either directly or indirectly promotes desirable academic outcomes (Peterson & Skiba, 2000; Marshall, 2004; Jones, Yonezawa, Mehan, & McClure, 2008). While there are gaps in the literature that indicate a causal relationship between school climate and academic performance, the subcomponents of positive school climate have a scientifically proven effect on improved student learning (RTI, 2010). Lesson One offers a whole school culture change that is easily integrated into each classroom’s existing academic curriculum; the intervention promotes a positive school climate by teaching life skills conducive to self-control, self-confidence, responsibility, conflict resolution, and cooperation. These life skills encourage trusting interactions between students and teachers, foster a sense of physical and emotional safety within the school, and encourage a sense of academic pride in students.

Connecting Social and Academic Learning