How do learning environments impact academic achievement, student motivation, college and career readiness, and more? What elements of school culture nurture resilience, self-determination, and other qualities of lifelong learners? Here, we explore different components of school culture and how they impact student success.

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A positive school culture includes:

  • Family and Community Engagement: Students, families, and educators work together to develop and contribute to a shared school vision
  • Issues That Impact Learning: Educators model and nurture attitudes that emphasize the benefits and satisfaction gained from learning
  • Educational Equity: All young people are engaged and respected
  • School Safety: Norms, values, and expectations that support people feeling socially, emotionally and physically safe
  • Student Engagement: Each person contributes to the operations of the school and the care of the physical environment
  Source: National School Climate Center

Family and Community Engagement



Family and community partnerships with schools look different everywhere depending on the needs of the population. Commonalities include deep respect for all perspectives, dedicated time for discussion and relationship building, and a desire to learn about each other’s experiences, needs, and aspirations.


Competency-Based Learning

Competency-Based Learning organizes learning around a student's background, needs, interests, and aspirations and uses authentic assessments such as projects to demonstrate mastery.

Strengthening and Diversifying the Teaching Profession

Supporting a strong, diverse teaching profession is key to promoting high-quality public education.

Issues That Impact Learning

Many factors can impact a student’s ability to learn, including social experiences, behavioral health, trauma, and student discipline practices.

Social Emotional Learning ban brings out strong opposition 

On Monday, February 5, Representative John Sellers (R-Bristol) introduced a bill that would ban social-emotional learning (SEL) in public schools. House Bill (HB) 1473...

Educators focus on social-emotional learning as foundational to student success

Had they known they were going to have their sense of rhythm put to the test, some of the educators who gathered at the...

Student Engagement

When students are engaged, they learn better. Including students in decision-making, both in the classroom and school-wide, can help students feel a sense of agency and belonging in their classroom and can ultimately improve academic outcomes.

What do YOU think?

How are your schools creating supportive learning environments? What are the most important issues in your community? Are there opportunities for students and families in decision making?