Student interest, engagement, and motivation are fostered by providing students with opportunities to participate in meaningful, personally relevant activities in school. This factsheet addresses how these opportunities are related to student well-being and school climate improvement.
The Climate Connection Toolkit outlines no- and low-cost, practical strategies for examining a school’s climate. It is designed to extend the utility of What Works Briefs for school climate improvement, created as part of the California Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) initiative, which outline research-based recommendations for universal and targeted school climate improvement policies, practices, and programs. The self-contained activities in the Climate Connection Toolkit, some of which were inspired by S3 grantees, are organized to assist school personnel in their ongoing efforts to improve the quality of relationships shared within and between adult and student groups on their campuses.
Meaningful participation occurs when contributions to the school and classroom environment are facilitated, rather than directed, by adults and when learning is connected to students’ personal interests and applicable to their lives. This helps cultivate students’ autonomy, decision-making and leadership skills, and personal talents and strengths. This What Works Brief provides strategies educators can use to provide students more opportunities for meaningful participation, including:
- Volunteering to be the advisor to a student-led initiative or interest group
- Facilitating an after-school, extracurricular project in a particular content area
- Having students collaborate to set class and school norms, as well as learning goals
- Adding student-selected, project-based assignments to curricula
Developed through the California Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) Grant, What Works Briefs summarize best practices, strategies, and programs for improving school climate. Based on research and grounded in experience, each brief provides practical recommendations for school staff, families, and community members. They are organized into three sections:
- Quick Wins: What Teachers and Adults Can Do Right Now
- Universal Supports: Schoolwide Policies, Practices, and Programs
- Targeted Supports: Intensive Supports for At-Risk Youth