Establish Learning Environment and Culture

Establish Learning Environment and Culture

Published: 11/6/2023 1:25 PM

What will we do to guide all learners if they don't know it, know it already or need other supports?

The environment in which students learn and the support they are offered to meet their individual needs is just as important as solid curriculum, instruction, and systems of continuous improvement and assessment. Students need to know they are safe and their needs will be met, no matter what those needs are. 

Key Core Work Process for Establishing Learning Environment and Culture


The mission of the Learning Environment and Culture key core work process is to assist schools with creating safe, inviting and engaging learning environments through the implementation of a continuum of school-wide, evidence-based practices that are matched to each student’s individual needs. Through environments that foster effective instruction, sound interventions, and data-based decision making, achievement gaps can be closed by reducing the rate of students performing below proficiency - resulting in improved outcomes for all students. Reference Addressing School Climate: 5 Ways Schools Can Positively and Proactively Support All Students found on the Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) website.

What is school climate?

“School Climate refers to the quality and character of school life. School Climate is based on patterns of students’, parents’, and school personnel’s experience of school life and reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal interactions, teaching and learning practices and organizational structures.” -National School Climate Center (NSCC)


Why is school climate important?

A positive school climate is associated with:

  • Academic Achievement

  • Student Engagement

  • Positive Social Skills

Does my school have a positive school climate? How do I know?

The National School Climate Council and NSCC suggest there are four major areas that any school climate assessment should include:

  • Safety

  • Relationships

  • Teaching and Learning

  • External Environment

Which cycle represents my school climate?

Consider the Coercive Cycle and the Positive Reinforcement Cycle from the Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports website and decide which cycle best represents your current school climate.

How do I improve my school climate?

In order for students to be academically successful, school must start with a school climate that is safe, inviting, and engaging for students and staff. The 30-60-90 Day Plan listed under related resources is designed to help schools begin the process of improving the school climate. Additional resources are available to assist schools throughout the process.

Related Resources

30-60-90 Day Plan for Learning Environment and Culture

Web-based modules created by the KDE and KET in response to 704 KAR 7:160

Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports Website

University of Louisville’s Academic and Behavior
Response (ABRI) to Intervention

Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education on School Discipline Disparities and Positive School Climate and Culture

Environment and Support
Principal Tim Schlosser highlights strategies he has implemented at Franklin Simpson High School to strengthen excitement about learning and high levels of students success. Activities such as the Senior Walk, People Choice Awards, and Student of the Week recognition are just some of the many happenings that occur at FSHS to encourage student and community involvement and engagement. Environment and Support YouTube video - Total time 4:56

Annie Conner, Special Education Liaison at Pulaski County High School, shares why the Positive Behavior Intervention System was implemented. Ms. Conner tells the story on this intervention and the impact it has had on the school’s culture. Why PBIS? YouTube video - Total time 1:03

Cultural Leadership
This video translates the importance of cultural leadership in order to improve the instruction and learning of a school through cultural development.  Emphasis is placed upon the use of a compelling vision/mission along with the shared symbols, icons, celebrations, recognitions, and stories and personalized beliefs, values, and assumptions that form the culture of their organization. Cultural Leadership YouTube video - Total time 8:42

Agents of Change
Watch how Franklin-Simpson High School revolutionizes their school culture through the implementation of strategies and activities which promote positive changes throughout their educational environment. They call themselves “Agents of Change” and pledge to only promote positive changes to influence student and teacher engagement in their school. Agents of Change YouTube video - Total time 2:59

Susan Greer
Office of Continuous Improvement and Support
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-5130
Fax (502) 564-8149

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