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.