Guidelines for use
                                                                                                                                      Think of the following as a menu of options for your school to consider.
                                                                                                                                       The activities and practices described here may need to be tailored to your school environment.
PROMOTING A POSITIVE SCHOOL CLIMATE: A Resource for Schools: Adapted by Middlesex-London Health Unit
  Elements                               School-Level Activities/Practices                                 Classroom-Level                                 Student-Level                                    Public Health Unit Supports
  Contributing to                                                                                         Activities/Practices                           Activities/Practices
  a Positive
  School Climate
  Student Voice               Encourage students to apply for a Ministry of Education           Post a list of appropriate volunteer             Provide team-building training for        Facilitate and support Healthy School Committees -
                               “SpeakUp” project grant. Have students create an action            opportunities available in the school, in         students interested in supporting          support students to identify issues and create action
  Schools give                 team to report to educators on the outcome of their                the community, or internationally. Include        their peers, either collectively, as a     plans
  students the                 project.                                                           opportunities available both during the           school-wide peer support group, or        Work with students to help them advocate for their own
  opportunity to                    school year and in the summer.                    individually, as peer helpers or           health and social issues
  provide input on            Invite former students who were able to overcome past             Set up peer-mentoring programs, such              tutors.                                   Support various clubs and committees such as social
  matters related to           challenges in their lives to share their personal stories at a     as “buddy” programs. For example, an             Train student leaders to lead other        justice, cultural diversity, and school councils
  their learning and           school assembly.                                                   older student could provide reading               students in physical activities           Organize/host peer led sessions such as Teen Panel
                              Engage students as partners in conversations about their           assistance to a younger student; a                during breaks, both to keep them          Support students to survey their school population
                               own learning and about the school’s learning environment.          senior student could help with a Grade 9          engaged and to promote positive            about health and social issues
  Students are given                                                                              student’s transition to secondary school;
                               Solicit their ideas about school improvement planning.                                                               relationships and team building.          Provide student leadership opportunities
                              Showcase students’ unique strengths, talents, and                  a current student could help a newcomer          Provide opportunities for all             Work with students to organize and implement healthy
  opportunities to                                                                                become familiar with the school.
                               interests through student-led assemblies, talent shows, or                                                           students to develop their                  schools workshops
  lead &/or contribute
                               musical events.                                                   Encourage students to participate in              leadership potential – for example,       Train peer leaders for peer-led physical activity recess
  to school activities.
                              Support student councils in conducting surveys of                  creating their own learning                       by rotating classroom duties or by         program (P.L.A.Y.), peer-led hand-washing education
                               students to find out what issues are important to them.            environments. For example, engage                 creating SpeakUp Councils.                Work with students to help them plan assemblies
  perspectives are
                               Use strategies developed by students to address the                students as partners in researching              Encourage students with a range            addressing issues related to physical, social, and/or
  taken into account                                                                              current learning theories or educational
                               identified issues.                                                                                                   of perspectives to volunteer to be         mental health
  in the decision-
  making process,             Support a variety of student-led clubs and teams, such as          approaches and have them share their              teacher helpers or to apply to            Support efforts to set up mentoring programs
                               intramural sports teams, student theatre and music                 findings with teachers.                           become members of the Minister’s
  and students are
                               groups, and Student Equity Committees.                                                                               Student Advisory Council (MSAC).
  encouraged to be
  involved at all

  Parent                      Encourage the School Council to apply for a Parents               Communicate with parents by various              Establish convenient channels of          Provide information for parents on various health related
  Engagement                   Reaching Out (PRO) grant, designed to help parents                 means, including telephone and email, to          communication to make parents              topics – electronic/paper newsletters, information
                               become more involved at their child’s school.                      keep them informed about student                  feel comfortable with contacting           sessions, consultation, school ‘Health Wall’ bulletin
  Schools provide                            learning. For example, contact the                teachers or other staff members if         boards
  parents with                Hold information sessions for parents in venues in the             parents of a student who was facing               their child is struggling or dealing      Provide parenting information through various mediums
  opportunities to             community, such as the public library, a meeting room in           challenges in learning to report that the         with other problems at school.             such as classes, websites, tip sheets, consultations
  learn about,                 an apartment building, the local community centre, a place         student is making improvements.                  Create a parent-information centre        Provide parenting sessions for newcomers
  support, and                                                                                   Provide parents with tip sheets and
                               of worship, an Aboriginal friendship centre, or a Parenting                                                          or bulletin board in the school           Partner with parent forums
  actively engage in           and Family Literacy Centre, to reach as many parents as            suggestions on how they can support               featuring materials about student         Create a health resource centre for parents at school
  their children’s                                                                                their child’s learning.
  experience at
                               possible. Consider using translators and approaching                                                                 well-being and information about          Contribute to parent nights and meet the teacher nights
                               leaders from diverse communities to help deliver school           Invite parents to volunteer in the                community resources that are              Collaborate with Settlement Workers in Schools to
  school.                      messages.                                                                                                            available to assist students and
                                                                                                  classroom as reading mentors, math                                                           provide programs and supports for parents who are
                              Invite parents to participate in school celebrations and           coaches, or storytellers.                         their families.                            refugees and/or new immigrants
                               events, such as sports days, field trips, musical events,         Create a “parent-buddy” program to help          Create a parent centre in the             Involve parents on Healthy School Committees
                               and school assemblies.                                             parents of newcomers to the school                school library where parents              Provide materials in various languages, and interpretive
                              Support new students and families as they become part of           navigate the school system.                       access material on issues that may         services (as needed) when offering
                               the school community by providing an orientation                  Find ways to show appreciation of all             affect their children, such as             programming/sessions for parents
                               package, including information about community                     parents’ efforts to support their children’s      healthy relationships, mental
                               resources, in multiple languages.                                  learning.                                         health and well-being, peer
                              Provide parents with a choice of ways in which they can           Hold teacher-parent-student discussions           pressure, and healthy eating. Try
                               participate – for example, by taking part in a parent-in-          to go over students’ learning goals and           to provide materials in multiple
                               class day, helping with the production of sets for the             their progress towards achieving the              languages.
                               school play, or helping to organize a school picnic.               goals.
                              Work towards including representation of diverse parent
                               groups on all school committees, including School

  Community                   Enlist community members or groups to participate in              Promote opportunities for students               Engage positive role models from          Host community fairs (e.g., ‘Going Bananas’)
  Partnerships                 school activities such as breakfast or snack programs.             taking art courses to decorate the store          the community to form a support           Assist students’ with identifying volunteer opportunities
                              Host a school “open house” for community members at                windows of local retail businesses.               group for girls that can help them        Raise awareness about outside community student
  Schools engage               which students can present and talk about their work.             Create opportunities in the classroom for         with issues related to self-esteem,        groups that students can join
  community groups
                              Encourage the school to participate in community                   students to “give back” to the local or           body image, healthy relationships,        Act as positive role model to students and staff
  to work with the                                                                                international community – for example,
                               activities such as charity events.                                                                                   and other areas of concern.               Provide referrals to outside agencies
  school in a                                                                                                                                      Engage positive role models from
                              Provide seniors with a special pass that provides free             by donating items built in a woodworking                                                    Network with community groups to provide increased
  mutually beneficial                                                                             class to a developing country or by               the community to form a support
                               admission to school events such as concerts and plays.                                                                                                          support to and involvement with schools
  way to support
                              Implement strategies designed to engage diverse                    planning a food or book drive.                    group for boys that can help them         Support development of snack and breakfast programs
  students and/or                                                                                Arrange for the local public health unit to       with issues related to self-esteem,
                               community partners.                                                                                                                                            Provide training to set up cooking clubs
                                                                                                  visit classrooms throughout the school            at-risk behaviours, life skills, and      Coordinate small group sessions with community
                                                                                                  year to discuss topics such as healthy            other areas of concern.                    partners
                                                                                                  eating and physical activity.                    Arrange for students to participate       Facilitate, co-facilitate, or provide resources to support
                                                                                                 Invite local police officers to the school to     in community or regional                   small group sessions (e.g., self-esteem, healthy
                                                                                                  discuss bullying or safe Internet use.            leadership-development                     relationships, etc.)
                                                                                                                                                    opportunities (e.g., a Model United
                                                                                                                                                                                              Offer ‘Health Fair’ events in schools in collaboration with
                                                                                                                                                    Nations), life skills training, or
                                                                                                                                                                                               community partners
                                                                                                                                                    sports camp.

  Learning                    Provide relevant opportunities for students and staff to          Promote a culture of high expectations           Establish classroom routines, such        Develop resources to assist with lesson planning
  Environment                  learn about diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives –        for all students.                                 as daily check-in, to benefit             Provide professional development workshops for
                               for example, about Aboriginal traditions and treaty               Differentiate instruction and assessment          students who require support.              teachers
  Schools provide              histories and about women’s contributions to science and           to meet the individual learning needs of         Provide opportunities for                 Teach social skills through small group work
  students with a              technology.                                                        all students.                                     secondary school students to              Host school wide events focusing on different themes
  wide range of               Ensure that curriculum materials, displays, and print and         Recognize and discuss qualities such as           explore career options – for              Participate in career fairs to promote health professional
  opportunities and            electronic resources reflect the diversity and the individual                                                        example, by inviting speakers or
                                                                                                  respect, social responsibility, empathy,                                                     roles
  ways to learn and                                                                                                                                 having students visit workplaces –
  to practise and
                               needs and interests of the student population. Students            honesty, and fairness where relevant in                                                     Act as a caring adult in the school environment
                               should always be able to recognize themselves in their             all areas of the curriculum, and draw             early in the school year.                 Host lunch and learn sessions
  demonstrate their            learning materials and resources.                                  attention to their significance in creating
  learning. Students                                                                                                                                                                          Provide health information to students through face to
                              Ask students to think of ways to creatively incorporate the        safe and healthy schools.                                                                    face meetings, health fairs, health walls, and other
  learn about the
                               school’s Monthly Character Traits (e.g., May – integrity;         Teach positive social skills through                                                         methods
  diversity of their
                               June – resilience) into their learning environment – for           modelling and role play. Practise positive                                                  Support classroom teaching by occasionally acting as a
  world and come to
                               example, have them design a screensaver for use on the             behaviour, and give positive feedback                                                        guest speaker on a variety of health-related topics
  understand the
                               school’s computers promoting that month’s trait.                   when a student behaves well.
  importance of
                              Reinforce, acknowledge, and celebrate positive student            Rotate classroom duties among all
                               behaviour – for example, by presenting certificates at a           students throughout the year. Allow
                               school assembly or by including “good news” stories in the         students to suggest leadership roles they
                               school newsletter.                                                 would like to take on.
                                                                                                 Take advantage of “teachable moments”
                                                                                                  to address immediate relationship issues
                                                                                                  that may arise among students.
                                                                                                 Develop classroom rules collaboratively
                                                                                                  with students at the beginning of the
                                                                                                  school year.

  Social-Emotional            Put in place a whole-school bullying prevention program.          Promote belonging and connectedness              Support students who are involved         Provide workshops or discussion groups for males and
  Environment                  Teach all students to oppose bullying and discrimination           in the classroom through “getting to              in unhealthy relationships or who          females focusing on self esteem, stress, healthy
                               by helping them develop the confidence to make their own           know you” activities (teacher-to-student          have been victims of bullying by           relationships, mental wellness & other health issues
  Schools promote              decisions and the courage to stand up for what they                and peer-to-peer).                                providing information about               Collaboratively implement whole school initiatives
  fairness, equity,            believe is right. Empower students to take responsibility         Promote positive relationship building            agencies that can help them.               focusing on various topics such as ‘being real’, mental
  respect for all, and         for their actions, including their choices as bystanders.          through peer mediation, conflict                 Provide students with tools to help        wellness, healthy living, substance use and abuse,
  a sense of                  Participate in campaigns such as Pink Shirt Day and                resolution, and restorative practices.            them gain insight into building self-      respect for self and others
  belonging and                Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week (third week of             Teach skills such as meditation, yoga,            esteem and healthy body image –           Link students to outside supports that provide positive
  connectedness.               November) to show that bullying will not be tolerated in the                                                         for example, provide self-esteem           relationships building, bonding
                                                                                                  and t'ai chi to help students reduce
  They create a safe           school.                                                            stress. Encourage students to notice              surveys or worksheets as well as          Collaborate with school social workers to provide one to
  and caring
                              Support student-led presentations, including concerts and          when they are experiencing learning as            opportunities for discussion.              one advice to students for staying mentally healthy
  environment for all.                                                                                                                             Develop supportive relationships
                               plays, that address bullying, homophobia, and racism and           fun.                                                                                        Recognize students for their efforts
                               that promote inclusiveness.                                       Encourage students to demonstrate                 with students, spending time with         Provide ideas and resources and/or implement social
                              Host assemblies to recognize positive student behaviour            behaviour that promotes emotional well-           them individually when possible.           marketing campaigns in schools to promote wellness,
                               and celebrate student successes.                                   being among their classmates. Ask them           Establish behavioural contracts            healthy living and a positive school environment
                              Build an understanding of mental illness and help reduce           to notice any improvement in their own            that have built-in rewards for            Engage students to feel a sense of belonging
                               the stigma attached to it by posting information and               sense of well-being as a result.                  students with behavioural issues.         Work with student groups to plan and carry out
                               posters about emotional and social well-being throughout                                                                                                        assemblies addressing issues related to physical, social,
                               the school.                                                                                                                                                     and/or mental health

  Physical                    Organize school-led community clean-up and                        Set up and organize the classroom in a           Have a group of students act as             Assist with the application of a healthy schools award
  Environment                  beautification days.                                               way that promotes collaborative learning,         environmental ambassadors at the            Assist environmental clubs with activities
                              Support the school’s eco-club to create a                          student engagement in learning, and               school, promoting the school’s              Promote zero-waste lunches
  The school                   school/community garden with flowers, vegetables, and              principles of inclusive education.                recycling and composting                    Provide information about green opportunities in
  environment, inside                                                                            Display the work of all students in the           programs and educating other
                               native plants.                                                                                                                                                    schools, and support students to ‘green’ the schoolyard
  and outside the
                              Hang a welcome banner produced by students at the front            classroom.                                        students about ways they can                Link students and staff to environmental services at
  building, is                                                                                                                                      make the school “greener”.
                               entrance of the school.                                           Ensure that classroom displays reflect                                                         public health departments (air and water quality)
  welcoming and                                                                                                                                    Provide tip sheets to students
                              Hold a zero-waste lunch challenge in the school.                   the diversity of the student population                                                       Link students to environmental activities that they could
  makes the school a
                              Regularly communicate and practise lockdown and                    and the population of the province.               about ways of making the school              participate in outside of school
  safe place that is                                                                                                                                more welcoming and more
  conducive to
                               evacuation procedures, as well as fire drill procedures.           Students should always be able to                                                             Work with student groups to identify their concerns
  learning.                   Provide tip sheets to all staff members suggesting ways to         recognize themselves in their learning            conducive to learning.                       regarding their physical environment and create plans
                               make the school more welcoming and more conducive to               environment.                                                                                  Provide information and develop skills to prevent spread
                               learning.                                                                                                                                                         of communicable diseases in schools
                                                                                                                                                                                                Facilitate development of School Travel Plans in
                                                                                                                                                                                                 collaboration with community partners, students,
                                                                                                                                                                                                 parents and school administration

  ∗In this document, parents is used to refer to parent(s) and

To top