A new report from the National School Climate Center, "Creating School Communities of Courage: Lessons from the Field," used observation and interviews at six school districts nationwide to highlight some of the most effective practices district and school leaders can use to improve school climate and develop social-emotional learning (SEL).

Seven main lessons drawn from the study include:

  • Effective leaders connect and collaborate with all stakeholders across the community
  • Committed and trusted educators are necessary for student success
  • Dealing properly with conflict can help build trust
  • Project-based learning and service learning build student leadership skills and community engagement
  • SEL skill integration in daily practice enriches school climate
  • Including all student voices improves equity
  • Peer-to-peer support structures build leadership skills in students and strengthen student bonds

The main areas of struggle schools continue to confront in their efforts to improve climate include finding ways to effectively address socio-political issues within the school walls, the damaging effects of principal turnovers, the challenge of implementing social and emotional learning instruction in middle school and high school, and the difficulty of enlisting parents and community members— especially at the secondary level.

Read the full article about improving social-emotional learning by Amelia Harper at Education Dive.