The Absolute Best School Climate Blogging (This Week): ‘We Matter’ Edition

By Evie Blad — January 23, 2015 1 min read
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Happy Friday, Rules readers. This week, Education Week published a special package of stories about recruiting, training, and retaining strong principals.

“That principals’ time is so often strained by day-to-day requirements of the job while they are held responsible for the success of myriad new initiatives makes their main mission—to be their schools’ instructional leaders and chief architects of a positive school climate—all the more challenging,” the report’s introduction says.

In another reminder that educators and school leaders can set a tone that changes the course of students’ lives, school climate enthusiasts eagerly shared this post by photographer Brandon Stanton, who shoots photos of strangers on the street for his “Humans of New York” series.

The story touched so many people that Stanton followed up with the principal to learn more about how she builds a positive school climate.

Stanton later reported that his readers have donated money to the school and sent the principal flowers since seeing the photos. The work of encouraging positive relationships in a school can be exhausting, especially with all of the other responsiblities educators balance. But successful students may be the fruit of those efforts.

Here are some other good reads I found this week about building a good school climate and promoting student well-being in schools.

The secret is self control...

From my perspective, this is the secret to effective classroom management and discipline—teaching students how to regulate and control their own behavior." —In this Classroom Q and A post, teachers talk about classroom management and discipline strategies.

Mental health matters...

When it comes to ensuring student success, mental health matters, and educators should be leaders, not bystanders, in this effort. Schools have the tremendous advantage of being a major hub in children's lives." —National Association of School Psychologists President Stephen Brock and school psychologist H. Thomas Brant write about schools' role in supporting students' mental health.

Engaging in empathy...

In my public school setting, parents are sometimes quick to attack an authority figure who they believe doesn't have their child's best interests in mind. I've been on the receiving end of this many times. But it has only been through listening to the care the parent is expressing in their anger, and acknowledging the intensity of their love for their child, that we are able to move beyond traditional boundaries of teacher/parent relationships to caring relationships." —Teacher John M. Holland writes about using empathy to engage students and their parents.

Strong social-emotional skills...

The focus on both individual social-emotional competencies and improved group functioning helps prepare students for the many future contexts in which their success will depend on both." —This Edutopia post provides strategies to help students reflect on their own social-emotional strengths and weaknesses.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.