The State Board of Education and the Ohio Department of Education are pleased to provide Ohio’s School Climate Guidelines, which describe how schools can create environments where every student feels welcomed, respected and motivated to learn.
While these guidelines target building and district administrators, they also can be useful as springboards for policy discussions with staff, students, parents, school boards and other community members. Use of the guidelines is voluntary, and policies that are established from these guidelines will be developed by local school boards.
Why and How to Implement School Climate Guidelines
In schools with safe, supportive learning environments where youth become connected to school, students are less likely to engage in disruptive and destructive behavior and more likely to graduate from high school. Since the primary mission of schools is to educate and graduate students, school leaders should keep the following in mind when reviewing the guidelines.
- The school staff needs to work closely with parents whose children have issues that affect learning. It must respect parental decisions about what is best for their children.
- The school staff should be cognizant of the federal Protection of Pupil Rights amendment, which permits parents to review instructional materials and requires schools to obtain parental permission prior to conducting certain surveys of student attitudes.
- The school staff needs to work with parents and community organizations, when appropriate, to provide services that address issues and behaviors that could interfere with learning and graduating.
These guidelines reinforce how educators, families and communities can improve their schools. School climate policies established by local school boards should be based on the evaluation of school data, be included in comprehensive continuous improvement planning, and be monitored regularly for improved performance.