In the 2015 Schools of Character magazine, we featured advice from six principals at National Schools of Character, but we received great insight from a number of other educators from these schools, as well. Here's what they had to say:
How does creating a caring school climate help students improve academically?
"When a school has a caring climate, the ability to reach more students in a positive, impactful way increasing exponentially. Students become more engaged in an environment where they feel connected and cared for. This goes for all of us. When parents are part of a caring school climate they are more inclined to open up and build trusting relationships with those in the school community. Teachers are integral piece to this puzzle as they are on the front lines with students and parents. They are the ones who are building positive, lasting relationships with the families they serve. Education is all about relationships and making connections to learning. Having a warm, caring school climate allows students, parents and staff to feel more comfortable to take risks and engage in courageous conversations built on trust.” - Michael Anselmo, Principal, Selvidge Middle School
“When our freshmen receive those first quarter grades, many encounter earning their first non A/B grades. That fear of failure disappears when they quickly realize that our school provides a safe environment to face the frustrations of new expectations and challenging classes. They grow confident in their own skills because they know the school provides peer tutors, one-on-one time with teachers, and open doors with administrators. These lines of communication encourage students to find ways to succeed, which only makes that accomplishment more rewarding by creating relationships which will help them as they continue through their high school careers. While we celebrate our students achievements, it is the opportunity for intrinsic reward in a caring school climate sets it apart from others. “ - Rachel Montgomery, Assistant Principal, Windsor High School
“The benefits of a caring school climate go beyond a social and emotional level. The academic successes take hold, BECAUSE of the social and emotional skills that are nurtured in a caring school climate. This year our kindergarten students were able to work cooperatively and creatively to complete a PBL (Project Based Learning) project about their community and display it at our annual School Fair. All students felt the pride and success of their month long endeavor. This was all possible as a result of cultivating our caring school community.” - Kim Ramer, Kindergarten Teacher, Bridgeport Elementary School