Building Safe, Engaging, and Equitable Schools

Image of young students with arms around each other

There are no quick fixes or easy solutions to respond to the tragedies that have occurred in schools across the country—but there are evidence-based ways to change school environments so that students and teachers feel safer. Safe and supportive schools create positive climates where students have strong social and emotional skills, feel physically and emotionally secure, are connected to and supported by their teachers, and consistently remain challenged and engaged in learning.

Furthermore, research has shown that students and teachers perform better when their schools

  • focus on student self-discipline, not external punishment;
  • promote healthy behaviors instead of suppressing unhealthy ones;
  • prevent problematic behavior rather than focus on punishment;
  • build connections to students rather than removing students from the school community; and
  • coordinate services systematically, instead of adding them piecemeal.

Drawing on extensive expertise in both research and technical assistance, AIR offers a wide array of resources, listed below, including the School Climate Quick Guide and the Trauma-Sensitive Schools Toolkit.