Safe, Supportive Environments

Students learn best in safe, supportive learning environments that address their academic, physical, emotional and mental well-being. Promoting a positive school climate, in which students feel engaged, safe, and connected is key to fostering these conditions for learning and promoting positive mental health. Efforts to create positive school climates support all students in a school and include building social-emotional skills, developing trauma-sensitive practices and policies, and establishing school connectedness among students and staff.  Schools with a positive school climate have reduced behavior problems, higher attendance, and improved academic achievement.

 Federal and state policies–such as the Every Student Succeeds Act–can provide funding to support schools and districts in establishing safe, supportive learning environments–for example, financing professional development on trauma-sensitive practices.

Featured Resources

Events Safe and Supportive Schools 101
July 17, 2019 Presentation PDF

Sandra Williamson, American Institutes for Research; Anne Mathews-Younes, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Valerie Sims Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health; Sarah Lee, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy Schools Branch

Events Exploring Alignment of Medicaid and Education Systems to Expand the Mental Health Workforce
July 17, 2019 Presentation PDF

Eric Rossen, National Association of School Psychologists; Amy Edwards, Virginia Department of Education; Mike Leathead, Michigan Department of Education

Events A National Look at State Policy Trends
July 16, 2019 Presentation PDF

Deb Temkin, Child Trends; Kristen Harper, Child Trends; Robert Hull, National Association of State Boards of Education; Lena O'Rourke, Healthy Schools Campaign

Events Opportunities in Medicaid to Improve Access to Behavioral Health Care for Children and Youth
July 16, 2019 Presentation PDF

Kirsten Beronio, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Resources State Laws Promoting Social, Emotional, and Academic Development Leave Room for Improvement

This publication offers an analysis of state statutes and regulations aligned with the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model of school health.

News The State Education Standard

The January 2019 edition of NASBE’s peer-reviewed journal, focuses on how state policymakers can advance student safety and wellness. Articles on social-emotional learning, trauma-informed schools, health education standards, and more are included.

Resources Using State Policy to Create Healthy Schools

This document provides state-by-state and issue-specific analyses of how state laws address the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model.

Resources Pain in the Nation Update

The brief includes state-specific data and federal, state and local policy actions to prevent deaths from alcohol, drugs, and suicide.

Resources PS18-1807 Program Guidance: Guidance for School-Based HIV/STD Prevention

This guidance is based on scientific literature and expert input about what is most likely to be effective in reducing risk for HIV infection and other STDs among adolescents and is intended for use by funded local education agencies and organizations.

Resources Integrating Public Health in Schools to Improve Graduation

APHA’s Center for School, Health and Education’s Program to Improve Graduation applies a public health and socio-ecological framework to strengthen the capacity of schools to remove barriers to healthy outcomes and learning. The report focuses on the program's journey to prevent dropout and advance population health and equity with schools across the country.