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School Climate & Safety Online Summit

Getting School Climate Right—A Guide for Principals

This event occurred on December 15, 2020 3:00 PM EST and is only accessible to those who originally registered.
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Do students in your school feel comfortable talking to teachers? Do they believe they can ask for help? Do they think a teacher would notice if they are absent?

Answers to these questions reveal a lot about how students feel about their school and whether it is a place they believe they can learn and thrive.

Positive and stable relationships among staff, students, and families are the foundation of a school’s climate and for ensuring that every kid in a school community feels known and supported. But building and sustaining those relationships takes as much teamwork, deliberate care, and effective leadership as establishing a strong instructional program.

The hardships and upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic and the renewed fight against racism are bringing even more urgency to school climate work, regardless of whether school is taking place in-person, virtually, or both.

In this summit, learn from school climate experts, principals, and others about how to establish school climate best practices, how to prioritize—and model—relationship building with students, and how to take concrete actions to eliminate policies and practices that are harmful to students who are Black, Hispanic, LGBTQ, and other marginalized groups.


1:00–3:00 p.m. ET | Discussions Open
1:00–3:00 p.m. ET

How Principals Set the Stage for School Climate—Both In-Person and Remote

1:00–3:00 p.m. ET

How to Support High Expectations for Students’ Academics and Behavior

1:00–3:00 p.m. ET

How Can Principals Tackle Bias and Racism in Schools?

1:00–3:00 p.m. ET

Using Student Voice and Student Agency to Create a Positive and Inclusive School Climate

1:00–3:00 p.m. ET

Inspire, Connect, and Engage


Elaine Allensworth
Lewis-Sebring Director University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research
Allensworth is the Lewis-Sebring director of the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, where she has conducted research on educational policy and practice for the last 20 years. She works with policymakers and practitioners to bridge research and practice, serving on panels, policy commissions, and working groups at the local, state and national level. She has been the principal investigator on research grants from funders such as the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Her research has provided insight into the factors influencing students’ educational attainment, the effectiveness of school leadership and school improvement. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Michigan State University, and was once a high school Spanish and science teacher.
Mashea Ashton
Founder and CEO Digital Pioneers Academy, Washington, D.C.
Ashton is the founder and CEO of Digital Pioneers Academy, a public charter school located in Washington, D.C.—where her family has lived for six generations and she began her career as a special education teacher. DPA is the first computer science-focused middle school in the city. Prior to DPA, Ashton served as the CEO of the Newark Charter School Fund, where she oversaw a $48 million initiative to support the growth of quality charter schools. Ashton holds an M.Ed. in Special Education and a B.A. in Sociology and Elementary Education from the College of William and Mary.
Kevin G. Biggs
Principal Theodore Roosevelt High School, Des Moines, Iowa
Biggs is the principal of Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa. He started his K-12 career as a special education teacher and has served as a coach, athletic director, and assistant principal in California and Iowa.
Marcia Carmichael-Murphy
Principal, Coleridge-Taylor Montessori Elementary School
Carmichael-Murphy is a Louisville native. She has served JCPS for 19 years as a teacher, resource teacher, Kentucky Department of Education technical assistance provider, assistant principal and is currently serving as the principal of Coleridge-Taylor Montessori. As a result of her upbringing as a biracial foster child, she is passionate about supporting diversity, equity, and the lived experiences of Louisville’s marginalized students. She holds degrees in Secondary Education from Spalding University (B.A.), and Political Science (M.A.) and Educational Leadership (Ed.S, Ed.D.) from University of Louisville.
Mindy Euken
Associate Principal Theodore Roosevelt High School, Des Moines, Iowa
Euken serves as an associate principal at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa. She previously has served as a Spanish teacher, instructional coach and the world languages curriculum coordinator for the district. Currently, she is an adjunct professor in Drake University’s Masters in Culturally Responsive Instruction and Leadership program.
LaRhonda Mathies
Assistant Principal, Coleridge-Taylor Montessori Elementary School
Mathies is an 18-year veteran educator who has served as a classroom teacher, resource teacher, and instructional coach for K-12. Mathies is a passionate servant leader with an unwavering belief in proliferating social justice education that bolsters equity, accessibility, and inclusivity for historically marginalized populations in urban public schools. She is currently serving as the assistant principal of Coleridge-Taylor Montessori Elementary where she leads culturally conceptualized Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to cultivate safe and racially inclusive spaces. Mathies holds degrees in Art Education from the University of Kentucky (B.A. and M.A.) and Educational Leadership from University of Louisville (Ed.D.).
Samantha Neiman
Principal Researcher AIR
Neiman is a principal researcher at AIR. Neiman’s work focuses on rigorous development of measurement tools, large-scale data collections, and data use, with a primary focus on school climate and related topics (conditions for learning, crime and safety, social and emotional skills, character development). She serves as the project director or survey advisor for multiple large-scale survey and psychometric projects, where she provides assistance to schools, districts, states, federal agencies, universities, and foundations through projects such as the Nevada School Climate/Social Emotional Learning Survey, the Communities in Schools Re-engagement monitoring project, the Nevada School Wellbeing Survey, the Cleveland Conditions for Learning and Conditions for Teaching surveys, and the National Center for Safe Supportive Learning Environments.

Neiman received a Record of Specialization in Rasch and Item Response Theory from the Institute for Statistics Education in 2019. She earned her M.A. in psychology from New York University in 2008.
David Osher
Vice President and Institute Fellow American Institutes for Research
Osher is vice president and institute fellow at the American Institutes for Research. His work focuses on school climate and the conditions for learning, social and emotional learning, and supportive and community-building approaches to school discipline and safety, among other topics. He is principal investigator of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, and leads impact, implementation and descriptive studies and evaluations that align qualitative and quantitative data. Osher has co-developed 8 school climate surveys and has consulted with schools, districts, and states on their use. He is the author of multiple peer-reviewed publications. Osher received his A.B., A.M., and Ph.D. from Columbia University, and he has served as dean of two professional schools of human services and of a liberal arts college.
Erica Young
Restorative Discipline Coach, Coleridge-Taylor Montessori Elementary School
Young has served 17 years in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Louisville in public education and mental health. She is the restorative discipline coach at Coleridge-Taylor Montessori Elementary where she is leading race-conscious social-emotional learning and culturally-conceptualized PBIS. She holds degrees in Elementary Education from the University of Pennsylvania (B.A.), School Social Work from the University of Chicago (A.M.), and Educational Leadership from University of Louisville (Ed.D.).
Lesli Maxwell is managing editor. She also writes The Savvy Principal newsletter.
Arianna Prothero covers technology, student well-being, and the intersection of the two for Education Week.
Stephen Sawchuk is an assistant managing editor for Education Week, leading coverage of teaching, learning, and curriculum.
Denisa R. Superville is an assistant editor at Education Week who focuses on principals and school leadership.
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Education Week can provide 1 hour of Professional Development credit for online summits if the educator attends live. A Certificate of Completion will be emailed to you shortly after the summit has ended. On demand viewing of a summit cannot be used for credit. As with all professional development hours delivered, Education Week recommends each educator verify ahead of the online summit that the content will qualify for professional development in your school, district, county, or state with your supervisor, human resources professional, and/or principal or superintendent’s office.