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LCFF Priority 6 Statement of Model Practices

Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Priority 6 Statements of Model Practices are intended to support LEAs and their stakeholders in the Local Control and Accountability Plan development process.

Desired Results: Schools that successfully sustain a positive school climate are committed to meeting the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical needs of each student. A positive school climate is built on caring, trusting, inclusive, and respectful relationships among students, staff, and families. The implementation of positive disciplinary measures that are inclusive and evidence based begins with the development of such relationships. Good relationships result in a sense of safety, order, and connectedness among members of the school community. When rules and expectations are clearly communicated and suspensions and expulsions are reserved for the most serious offenses, students experience supportive, personalized learning conditions that promote social, emotional, and academic growth.

Model Practices: Model practices for building a positive school climate may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Implement a School Climate Improvement Process.
    • Establish a Local educational agency (LEA) school climate task force to oversee the implementation of LEA-wide school climate initiatives. At the school site levels, establish a school climate team that includes the school administrator and representatives from students, parents, and staff (teachers, classified staff, counselors and other mental health staff) who can reach out to other members of the school community to establish a school-wide commitment. If possible, use existing school teams to avoid creating multiple teams.
    • To ensure sustainability, ensure that site-based school climate improvements are aligned with LEA initiatives and integrated with existing LEA and school policies, school norms, and daily school operations.
    • Before adding new school climate strategies, conduct an inventory of existing interventions. Continue the effective strategies and discontinue those strategies that do not work. Ensure that strategies are selected based on factors such as school and LEA capacity, staff support, research, and feasibility of implementation. Select fewer high-quality strategies and implement them with high fidelity.
  2. Conduct a local School Climate Survey.
    • Conduct a school climate survey among students, staff and parents using valid and reliable surveys such as the California School Climate, Health, and Learning Survey (CAL-SCHLS). Administer the survey at least once every other year. If possible, offer the climate survey annually.
    • Administer the survey to students in at least one grade per grade span (e.g., 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th grade). For staff survey, include all staff (both certificated and classified staff). Make an effort to reach out to all parents to ensure that families of all student sub-groups are represented. Strive for a 70% minimum response rate for student and staff surveys, and 25% for parent survey. The school climate survey should assess stakeholder perceptions on school safety and student connectedness. To provide a holistic view and understanding of school functioning and student success, consider expanding the survey to assess these four constructs: safety, relationships, conditions for teaching and learning, and empowerment.
    • Further explore the survey results by conducting stakeholder interviews or focus groups to understand the ‘why’ behind survey responses. Review additional Dashboard data such as suspension and chronic absenteeism rates, by sub-group. Use both qualitative and quantitative data to drive stakeholder action planning and decision making.
    • Post the climate survey results on the district website, disaggregated by student groups, with a minimum sample size, for each school site.
  3. Build Capacity for Staff Support and Wellness.
    • Provide leadership training and coaching to school administrators and ensure that all staff implementing new strategies have an opportunity to practice new skills and receive feedback.
    • To address staff climate and wellness, match a mentor teacher to new staff members (including substitutes); create professional learning communities; provide meaningful participation and decision making opportunities; support staff’s social and emotional well-being through strategies such as mindfulness training; and implement a strong student intervention framework to support teachers in addressing the most vulnerable students.
  4. Provide Student Supports to Promote Engagement and Sense of Safety.
    • Utilize a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework at school sites to offer universal supports for all students and tiered interventions for students with more intense social and emotional needs. The MTSS framework includes evidence-based practices such as positive behavior supports, social emotional learning (SEL), and restorative practices.
    • Provide a continuum of supports to promote student mental health, from prevention to intervention. Train all non-mental health school staff in Youth Mental Health First Aid and increase student access to school and community-based mental health services by hiring social workers, counselors, and school psychologists.
    • Collaborate with community based agencies to establish a school-based Health Center or Wellness Center. Provide a space at the Health or Wellness Center for agitated students to calm down and regroup, followed by supportive discussion with appropriate personnel.
    • Create a student assistance program or a well-defined student referral pathway.
    • Address suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention (i.e. intervention for the bereaved) for all students through adoption of LEA policies, annual staff training, development of a crisis response protocol, and collaboration with local county behavioral health or community based agencies.
    • Address bullying (including cyber-bullying) through prevention and intervention. Educate all school stakeholders about bullying and the behavioral expectations from students, both in-person and online. Provide staff training in appropriate adult interaction styles to ensure that staff model respectful behavior towards both adults and students equally. Provide meaningful recognition for good behaviors and kindness from staff and students. Train all staff to appropriately intervene during an instance of bullying. Train all students how to positively and safely intervene as a bystander. Educate parents about cyberbullying and how to monitor and report cyber-bullying.
    • Utilize youth development strategies and activities that promote caring relationships, high expectations, and meaningful participation among all students. Students’ voices are promoted by activities such as the World Café, student focus groups, and student fish bowls.
    • Encourage and train students to be peer counselors, mentors, and restorative justice advocates. Implement a Youth Court program. Encourage older students to mentor younger students as “Culture Keepers” or through transition programs for incoming or returning students. Offer students opportunities to assume roles often held by adults such as opening assemblies, ceremonies, and school events.
    • Promote student-centered learning by:
      • considering student interest when designing and implementing academic programs,
      • offering students opportunities to reflect on and express their sense of self-identity in relation to the school community, and
      • encouraging students to engage in the assessment of their academic progress and subsequent plans to address their progress.
  5. Strengthen School, District, and Community Relationships.
    • Implement trauma-informed practices to provide appropriate care and support to students who have suffered trauma.
    • Train staff to be culturally proficient in order to create culturally aware and responsive classrooms.
    • Promote daily student-staff connections with strategies from the Climate Connection Toolkit (2nd Edition). Encourage staff to connect with students through homerooms, mentoring, involvement with student clubs, and participation in school-wide events and athletic activities.
    • Promote community and civic involvement among students by adopting community service requirements for all secondary students and/or establishing partnerships with community agencies through service learning and expansion of enrichment/extracurricular activities.
    • Advertise community service opportunities, cultural events, or enrichment activities through school newsletters, website announcements, and social media.
    • Encourage secondary students to “adopt” a nearby elementary school to serve as mentors and tutors.
    • Increase family engagement by hiring a parent liaison, translating school documents, conducting parent-teacher home visits, utilizing positive parent communications, or implementing family engagement standards such as the National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. Ensure that families feel safe and respected.
    • Teachers, classified staff, and administrators engage in collaborative labor management practices.
  6. Provide a Supportive and Engaging Physical Environment.
    • Ensure that school facilities are warm, engaging, clean, and well-maintained.
    • Conduct campus walks to identify relatively isolated areas of the school that may support risky student behaviors.
    • Promote school pride by inviting school stakeholders to participate in school clean-up days, beautification projects, or photo contests for the most memorable school areas.
    • Encourage staff to use school garden and outside areas to support student learning in all curricular areas.
    • Increase student access to the school library.
    • Implement school wellness policies that promote healthy eating and physical activity.
    • Ensure year-round access to appealing and nutritious meals for all students through the administration of state and federal nutrition programs.
    • Implement Smarter Lunchrooms or “Breakfast after the Bell” to promote healthy eating.
    • Increase water access points to provide clean and safe drinking water to all students.
    • Provide access to physical activity programs in safe respectful playgrounds.
  7. Adopt Positive Disciplinary Measures.
    • Examine suspension and expulsion rates by grade level and student group, including students with Individualized Education Programs. Establish specific suspension reduction goals for individual student groups. Include suspension reduction goals and actions planned to meet them in the LEA’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).
    • Eliminate zero tolerance policies.
    • Develop a progressive disciplinary matrix and educate all students and staff about the expectations of student behavior in the beginning of the school year. Train all staff in the use of the disciplinary matrix. Develop student referral forms. Regularly collect and report data regarding the alternatives used along with associated outcomes.
    • Consider opportunities for implementing strategies that foster students’ intrinsic motivation in place of behaviorist discipline strategies that rely on extrinsic factors of motivation that are not logically related to intended goals.
    • Evaluate the relationship between law enforcement and students. Collect data about citations and arrests and analyze LEA expenditures for law enforcement. Redistribute LEA resources from law enforcement towards student support services such as mental health, social work, and health services that meet the underlying student needs.
    • Involve students in reviewing, crafting, and adjudicating school rules to build a sense of ownership and establish pro-social community norms through practices such as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Restorative Practices, and Youth Court.
    • Provide re-entry supports for students who have been suspended, expelled, or are returning from juvenile court schools. For students re-entering from juvenile court schools, convene transition planning meetings with county agencies and service providers prior to and after enrollment and designate a staff person to support students during re-entry.

Return to LCFF/Whole Child Resource Map

Questions:   Jonathan Feagle | LCFF@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0261
Last Reviewed: Friday, October 26, 2018
Related Content
  • LCFF Resources: Priority 6 School Climate
    Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) Priority 6 addresses student suspension rates, expulsion rates, other local measures including surveys of students, parents and teachers on the sense of safety and school connectedness.
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