The Positive Schools Center (PSC), an initiative through the UMB School of Social Work and SWCOS, defines school climate as “the tone, feel, and character of a school's atmosphere.”
The PSC partners with Maryland school districts to identify and collaborate around issues related to school climate—creating positive, supportive and mindful learning communities.
Its goal is to create an environment in which students and faculty can communicate more effectively, talk through issues and concerns, and create a platform for the student to feel more comfortable and accountable.
“It’s more than just providing assistance. We’re developing a framework for school climate which will change the fabric of how we educate children,” said Positive Schools Center Director Dr. Shanda Crowder.
The first school district to work with the Positive Schools Center is Baltimore City Public Schools with a focus in West Baltimore—just a stone's throw from the UMB School of Social Work. The PSC is currently undergoing a 10-month planning and coaching process with those schools.
“This not a one-size-fits-all program,” said Crowder. “Each school will have different needs and the program will adapt accordingly.”
While the program is starting in Baltimore, it will expand to a statewide initiative in the future.
Suspensions and expulsions are a major issue in Baltimore City. Promoting effective and safe learning communities can only be achieved if kids stay in the classroom. Having faculty, family, and students work together to achieve a safe, productive learning community is important for improved education in Baltimore, Maryland, and beyond.