Welcome to the  School Climate Connection Blog, a companion to our new e-newsletter. This blog is intended as a platform for the discussion of all things school climate — what’s happening in our schools, in research, on the public policy front, and in the news.

The School Climate Connection Blog also serves as an in-depth information resource for educators, policymakers, families, communities, and, let’s not forget, students.  We hope to stimulate a robust discussion among our readers about what we know, especially around what works, what might work, and what we imagine should be possible when it comes to school climate and reform.

Keep tuned in as we will be devoting special attention to the evidence linking school climate to student success, as well as to what strategies work best, focusing particularly on California schools.

 Safe and Supportive Schools

The School Climate Connection Blog was developed by the Health and Human Development Program (HHDP) at WestEd with funding from the California Department of Education’s California Safe and Supportive Schools (CalS3) grant.

This CalS3 grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, supports measurement of conditions for learning and other aspects of school climate and targeted programmatic interventions to improve those conditions in 59 California comprehensive high schools (grades 9-12) with the greatest need.

In particular, this initiative is designed to help address disruptive behaviors in school—such as bullying, harassment and violence, and substance use—and promote safe, caring, engaging, and healthy school environments that foster learning and well-being among both students and staff.

The WestEd Health and Human Development Program was contracted to provide technical assistance in data collection and program implementation to these Cal-S3 grantees and to help raise awareness of the need for school climate improvement throughout the state.  The School Climate Connection blog was launched to support that effort, along with the companion School Climate Connection Newsletter .

Whether you are a Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) grantee, an educator interested in the issues and topics surrounding school climate, or a member of the communities served by schools, we hope you’ll find something worthwhile here and join in the conversation via comments or by contacting us.

The Health and Human Development Program at WestEd strengthens the capacity of schools, families, and communities to provide the supports and opportunities all youth need to succeed in school, career, and life.  We work to promote positive youth development, academic achievement, college and career readiness, physical health, and social-emotional well-being.

For over 20 years we have helped stakeholders apply the best research-based knowledge to create safe, supportive, and healthy environments that meet the needs of youth and promote resilience even among youth in the most challenging environments. Our staff conduct surveys and research, evaluate programs and resource tools, and apply and disseminate knowledge to improve programs, policies, and practice.

In addition to its work supporting the Cal-S3 project, the Program is responsible for the development of the California School Climate, Health, and Learning Surveys (Cal-SCHLS) for assessing students, school staff, and parents.

 School Climate Connection Blog Contributors

Gregory Austin

Greg Austin is Director of the Health and Human Development Program at WestEd as well as the agency’s California School Climate, Health, and Learning Surveys and the California Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center.

Greg is working on two projects to promote development of school and after-school supports for students in families connected with the military:

Building the Capacity of Military Connected Schools, in partnership with the University of Southern California

• Army Youth Programs in Your Neighborhood (AYPYN) Resilience Project

Carol Kim, Editor

Carol is a Research Associate with the Health and Human Development Program at WestEd. She manages and works on evaluations of programs that promote the social and emotional well-being of students, youth development, and resilience. Carol also co-authors and edits the CTE Central Blog as part of the Career Technical Education Pathways Initiative.