What Is Positive School Climate?

Get the Facts

Positive School Climate (PSC) is a collaborative (team-based), educative, proactive, and functional process to developing effective interventions for inappropriate behavior.

How is PSC a process?

PSC is not a packaged program with a set script. There are critical components that comprise the entire process. The components are individualized to meet the specific needs of each school. Additionally, the components are always changing to meet the specific needs of the school (e.g., population changes, maintain interest, address multiple levels of inappropriate behavior, etc.).

How is PSC proactive?

The team uses discipline data to identify patterns and possible causes of inappropriate behavior. This information is then used to develop effective interventions to decrease inappropriate behavior and increase desired behavior across campus. The use of yearly, monthly, or more frequent data comparisons helps to prevent the same patterns of inappropriate behavior from reoccurring and assist the core team in adapting the school-wide PSC plan.

How is PSC educative?

Students in our schools come from many different backgrounds and cultures that view "behavior" differently; thus, we cannot assume that students know how to behave appropriately when at school. Furthermore, many of our students are making poor choices when confronted with a conflict. Consequently, we must teach our students how to behave at school to ensure that they do make better choices. PSC views inappropriate behavior in the same manner that problems in reading or math are viewed…as a skill deficit. When a skill deficit exists, we must teach the appropriate skill. By doing so, a unified and positive school climate forms informing students and staff that appropriate behavior is a priority in school.

How is PSC functional? 

Students engage in inappropriate behavior to obtain something they want (e.g., attention, getting out of an assignment, etc...); thus, it serves a purpose for them. PSC uses the function of the inappropriate behavior to identify an appropriate consequence and avoid rewarding the misbehavior.

What does PSC look like at school?

  • Discipline DATA are used to help track progress and identify areas to target for intervention
  • CONSISTENT discipline referral PROCESSES & PROCEDURES exist throughout the school
  • Use of school-wide EXPECTATIONS & RULES in specific settings to TEACH students appropriate behavior
  • A REWARD SYSTEM to encourage appropriate behavior and EFFECTIVE CONSEQUENCES to discourage inappropriate behavior

​How long will it take to implement PSC?

Because school-wide PSC is a process, not a program, the length of time it takes to get started varies by school. Schools typically take between three months to one year to fully implement all the critical components of PSC. Components are generally introduced a few at a time. The process is ongoing and constantly adapted to meet the changing needs of the school and to address current concerns. Many schools begin noticing improvements right away. However, it may take a few years for the school’s philosophy regarding the handling of inappropriate behavior to change.

How will this affect me? 

Faculty and staff must decide if positive school climate is a good fit for their school. Once the school obtains an 80% approval rate from faculty and staff (must include administration), the core team begins brainstorming and working on each of the critical components of PSC. Faculty, staff and students are asked for input/feedback on all components and to contribute to the overall school-wide PSC plan. All members of the school are participants in positive school climate and adhere to the school-wide expectations.

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