Meaningful learning happens when all members of a school community feel safe, valued, cared for, respected, and engaged.
The California Department of Education (CDE), in collaboration with WestEd, develops initiatives to support the health, safety, and wellbeing of students and school staff.
Cultivating a school environment with these crucial supports in place leads to increased student engagement, attendance, achievement, and success. A 2017 study found that:
- Schools with a more positive student-reported school climate had higher academic performance in English language arts and math.
- Changes in a school’s student-reported school climate over time were associated with changes in academic performance at that school.
Further, extensive research and experience shows that a safe, healthy, and equitable school climate promotes improved student connectedness and mental health. Critical components of a healthy school climate include authentic, caring relationships among and between students, staff, and parents; a culture rooted in high academic and behavioral expectations; and opportunities for students to be involved in meaningful decisions and activities to further enhance their sense of connectedness and engagement.
This website offers free publications, tools, and guidance from a variety of sources to foster safe and supportive schools using a data-driven approach.
Project Cal-Well, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), raises awareness of mental health needs and expands access to school and community-based mental health services for youth, families, and school communities in California.
The Resource Library showcases a wide variety of free, evidence-based resources and publications related to school climate and student well-being. Featured resources are available from many respected sources, including WestEd and CDE projects and national content centers.
The California Safe and Supportive Schools Newsletter delivers the latest research, resources, policies, and practices related to school climate, safety, and wellbeing. Subscribe now for this monthly newsletter or explore our archive of past issues.
Connect with Us
The California Safe and Supportive Schools site provides high-quality, data-driven research, tools, and guidance to inform decisions about school climate and safety. Discover timely tools and information in the resource library.
Subscribe to the California Safe and Supportive Schools Newsletter to receive updates about and the latest research on school climate, safety, and student and staff wellbeing.
Find additional information and resources at the California Department of Education’s Positive School Climate site.
For technical assistance and professional development, visit WestEd’s School Climate and Wellness Partnership.
Learn about the California School Climate, Health, and Learning Surveys on the CalSCHLS website.
Contact the site administrators if you have questions about this site.
The California Department of Education and WestEd: A History of Collaboration
For over 20 years, the California Department of Education (CDE) and WestEd have worked together to improve school climate and promote the safety and well-being of students and school staff. This website was originally developed to support 58 California high schools that received four-year Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) grants to promote safe, caring, engaging, and healthy school environments that foster learning and well-being among both students and staff. The grant supported statewide measurements of conditions for learning and targeted programmatic interventions to improve those conditions.
Together, CDE and WestEd are proud to collaborate in providing opportunities for districts and schools to assess, implement, and evaluate local needs and initiatives, including through the California School Climate, Health, and Learning Survey System (CalSCHLS). CalSCHLS provides comprehensive, research-validated instruments for assessing school climate and aligning efforts to meet Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) requirements and goals. Developed by WestEd, this system is the largest statewide effort in the nation to assess all major domains of school climate and safety, learning engagement, youth strengths and needs, and developmental risk and protective factors at the local level, as well as staff and parent needs and supports.
CDE’s Commitment to Students
The CDE’s mission is to provide a world-class education for all students, from early childhood to adulthood. The CDE serves our state by innovating and collaborating with educators, schools, parents, and community partners, preparing students to live, work, and thrive in a highly connected world. One of the goals of the CDE is to establish and foster systems of school, home, and community resources that provide the physical, emotional, and intellectual support that each student needs to succeed. For more information, visit https://www.cde.ca.gov/.
Helping every student to thrive is WestEd’s prime focus and has been for more than five decades. A nonpartisan, nonprofit research, development, and service agency working with education and other communities throughout the United States and abroad, WestEd aims to improve education and other important outcomes for children, youth, and adults. WestEd staff meet the needs of our partners through research, evaluation, professional development, technical assistance, policy analysis, and other support. For more information, visit WestEd.org.