Areas of Interest
School climate and culture is a mosaic of concepts in which shape a student’s educational experience, and has been found to be a prominent factor in a student’s success rate in school. It is essential that a school’s climate is positive and adaptable to the varying needs of its students. A positive school climate and culture is determined by a schools’ priorities which surround aspects such as physical environment, norms, inter personal relationships, organizational structures, and teaching styles.
School safety has become the forefront of national conversations surrounding competent and responsive school environments. However, the procedures to ensure schools remain safe environments for each and every student has varied greatly across state education agencies. School security remains a wide spectrum of tactics ranging from providing schools with School Resource Officers (SROs) to ensuring availability of wrap around services to all students, and many variations in between.
Emergencies can occur in an array of forms, ranging from natural to human inflicted. As we occupy different areas of the country, we are aware of the emergencies that affect us more commonly, as well as those that are unpredictable. Despite the type of emergency, it is vital that we have procedures in place to ensure the safety as well as the security of students and building staff, especially in the event that first responders are delayed.
In the wake of an emergency, either predicted or unexpected it is essential to have a response plan in place in order to save lives and mitigate the severity of a situation. This provides a starting point in order to cultivate recovery of a school environment as swiftly as possibly following an emergency. We believe recovery should span far beyond structural damage following an emergency, but also delving into students’ emotional recovery, and the most beneficial procedures to assist in restoring order and previous normality in the school environment.
The construct of school is one of the most fundamental factors in which assist in shaping each and every child’s social, emotional, and cognitive growth mobility. Therefore, it is essential that students not only feel comfortable, but secure in their environment. Bullying has proven to be one of the biggest threats to a child’s mental health, and has been linked to increased depression, as well as contributing to increased suicide risk. Due to the rise of technological advances- cyberbullying has proved to affect even more children because of its inconspicuous manner. We believe that each child is entitled to be their authentic self in school, without fear of being bullied or harassed.
The rise of school safety initiatives has come as a response to the many unfortunate disasters that have claimed the lives of innocent students across the country. We have come to the realization that School Safety should encompass more than response measures to unfortunate events, but should also initiate destigmatizing children’s mental health needs. We believe that in order to properly nurture a student’s growth, our supports should be inclusive of their social, emotional, and mental needs.
CCSSO School Safety Steering Committee
CCSSO’s newly formed School Safety Steering Committee will work toward creating safe and supportive school environments for all students. The committee will determine what guidance or support CCSSO will offer to states around school safety.
Michael Johnson, Commissioner of Education and Early Development, Alaska
Tony Dearman, Director, Bureau of Indian Education
Dianna Wentzell, Commissioner of Education, Connecticut
Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent of Education, Hawaii
Ryan Wise, Director of Education, Iowa
Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, Maryland
Elsie Arntzen, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Montana
Lamont Repollet, Acting Commissioner of Education, New Jersey
Pedro Rivera, Secretary of Education, Pennsylvania
Jillian Balow, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Wyoming
CCSSO will continue to work with and engage external partner organizations in different ways to ensure we support and inform work to find strategies to keep students, teachers, and staff safe while at school. The following resources represent the growing conversation on school safety at the national level.
- CCSSO's Position on School Safety
- Education Commission of the States (ECS) 50-State Comparison on K-12 School Safety Policies
- The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Database on School Safety Legislation
- U.S. Department of Education's School Safety Commission
- U.S. Department of Education's School Resource Officers, School Law Enforcement Units and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
*The school safety documents and resources housed on this web-page are currently a work in progress. Please continue to check www.ccsso.org for updates.