New! 25 Strategies to Engage Early Learners

Sign Up for our Free Webinars!

School Climate

An inclusive school climate draws upon these practices and more to create a school environment in which every child belongs and is able to learn.

Walk into any school or classroom and you will know if they were successful in creating this environment! You immediately feel welcomed, accepted, important to the group – or uncomfortable and tenative, almost as though you are intruding on someone else’s space or activity. In thousands of conversations with students, parents, and educators, we hear that the defining characteristic of inclusive schools must go far beyond the banners that proclaim each school’s mission statement to the quality and intent of daily human-to-human interactions.

Here are just a few questions to ask as we promote a more inclusive climate.

  • Do all students feel a strong sense of belonging?
  • Do all parents believe that the school values their perspectives and contributions?
  • Do parents and educators leave meetings together with a renewed sense of shared purpose on behalf of the student?
  • Do school purposively nurture positive student relationships and shared activities?
  • Are all faculty members appreciative of diversity in student readiness and learning, language, race, culture, experiences, and more?
  • Do student considerations take priority over adult considerations when concerns arise?
  • Is shared ownership for all students clearly expressed as a non-negotiable by the superintendent and each school’s principal?
2022 Inclusive Schools Week banner

A Guide for Building Safe and Supportive Learning Environments

The Inclusive Schools Network is committed to our mission to encourage and empower parents, schools, and the community to design and implement effective inclusive schools. Inclusion is an action, and we support a proactive culture that models kindness and acceptance. The importance of working together to create safe, supportive learning environments cannot be overemphasized! We… Read more

ISN Partner: The Nora Project

The Nora Project‘s mission is to teach empathy by sparking friendships between students and their peers with disabilities. Why it Matters Creating supportive communities for people with disabilities (now and for the future) starts with teaching today’s generation empathy—a practice that will benefit them in all aspects of their lives. Without the opportunity to learn… Read more

Finding an Effective Inclusive School: Questions Every Parent Should Ask

There are several resources that will help you as you search for schools that have a strong commitment to effective inclusion. Every state has a Department of Education that reports on that state’s target for Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). This LRE data is also available for individual districts and schools within the state. The higher… Read more

Principles of Inclusive Design | Kody Olson

As a Deaf student, Kody Olson values the importance of an inclusive education. He recently gave a TEDx talk at Iowa State University outlining the personal impact that inclusive design has had on him. Additionally, he outlined ways that educational institutions can serve to be even more inclusive. Enjoy his TEDX talk… Read more

Peers Supporting an Inclusive School Climate

Author: Toni Riester-Wood, Ph.D. Inclusive schools promote respectful and supportive relationships, avoid the bullying epidemic, and build the attributes of positive peer-to-peer interactions. Due to the current state of our national economy and shrinking education budgets, schools and businesses alike are striving for both efficient and effective ways to maximize resources. One very powerful resource that is… Read more

Ways to Improve School Climate

When we look for ways to improve student achievement we often cite school climate as a major factor, but just what is "school climate"? How do we create a positive climate that will indeed affect student achievement and develop student and teacher efficacy?  The National School Climate Center defines school climate as the "quality and character of… Read more

Inclusion on the Playground

Inclusive schools should be places where children not only achieve…but enjoy. The playground or inside play areas are oftentimes the center of a young child's social world. It is the place where friendships start, social networks form, and the rigors of the classroom seem far away. Children with disabilities and those from culturally and linguistically… Read more

Shaking the House “Khooneh Takouni”

Khooneh takouni, which translates to "shaking the house" is a Persian ritual of spring cleaning that precedes the Persian New Year each spring. The ritual of spring cleaning, in many cultures, provides a fresh start as we enter the season of new beginnings. As trees bloom and flowers blossom many people enjoy a renewed sense… Read more

Celebrate Ourselves

Most human beings enjoy sharing information and stories about themselves. Students are no different. Revealing special things about themselves can help students develop confidence and trust among their peers. This sharing of information can also assist teachers in finding out more about their students and plan lessons that tap into the needs and preferences of… Read more

Self-Assessment and Action Planning

What will you guarantee every single student who steps foot inside your building? Equitable access to the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) or general education curriculum? Equitable access to high quality instruction provided by teachers skilled in core content knowledge AND instructional methods designed to engage and bring learning within the reach of every student… Read more