Effective models for improving climate and learning environments that provide professional development

December 23, 2002

A number of existing programs combine a strong support in research, a well-designed professional development component, and a focus on creating positive learning environments. The Developmental Studies Center’s Caring School Communities Program provides staff development around practices like class meetings, cross-grade buddies, parent involvement activities, and school-wide activities, proven to improve students sense of connectedness to school, academic success, etc. The Responsive Classroom model, developed by the Northeast Foundation for Children, focuses on building school culture and student learning through a combination of an integrated approach to discipline, school rituals like morning meeting, classroom organization, and an instructional approach that emphasizes discovery and choice. The Second Step Program, which teaches students to recognize and understand feelings, to make positive and effective choices, and to keep anger from escalating into violence, includes a focused staff development component. The Resolving Conflict Creatively Program is a K-12 program that focuses on social and emotional learning. It is a program of Educators for Social Responsibility and started as a collaboration between the New York City Public Schools and ESR in the 1980s.