A school environment is broadly characterized by its facilities, classrooms practices, school-based health supports, and disciplinary policies and practices. It sets the stage for the external factors that affect students.

A positive school environment is defined as a school having appropriate facilities, well-managed classrooms, available school-based health supports, and a clear, fair disciplinary policy. There are many hallmarks of the academic, disciplinary, and physical environments of schools with a positive climate.


Featured Resources

2023 Classroom WISE Technical Assistance Opportunity: Request for Applications

The Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network and the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH) invite schools and school districts to apply to participate in an opportunity focused on implementing (helping schools adopt and use) our educator mental health literacy training package, Classroom WISE (Well-Being Information and Strategies for Educators), during the 2022-23 school year.

How to Apply
Complete this online application by December 15, 2022, 8 PM ET. The application asks you to share the names of your team members and respond to

Blue Campaign

Provides information to support school resource officers to recognize signs of and report suspected human trafficking. In addition, offers strategies to ensure potential victims or impacted students get connected with appropriate providers and support. 

Shares six key principles that are essential to student learning, including the importance of relationships and the integration of social and emotional learning. Strategies to meaningfully collaborate to build core aspects of these principles are then shared.


Shares a variety of resources, programs, and tools communities can reference on mental health. Resources cover a range of topics, including: guidance for addressing mental health and substance use in schools, information on trauma-informed care, and increasing protective factors among youth.

Project AWARE

Shares strategies to build and expand the capacity of State Education and Mental Health agencies that oversee school-aged youth. Key facets of the Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) program include training for school staff and other adults on how to identify and respond to mental health challenges, along with connecting school-aged children and their families with needed resources. 

Grantee Highlight: Staff Wellness in Pasadena United School District

Focusing on reintegration in the 2021-22 school year to ensure the success of students and staff upon return to full in-person instruction, the Pasadena United School District (PUSD), a Mental Health Service Professional grantee in California, developed an enhanced version of their curriculum that included visual arts, mental health, and academics. As part of this initiative, PUSD created virtual wellness centers for staff and students that includes a “PUSD Wellness Studio”, a Padlet for staff use only. As Dr. Julianne Reynoso, Assistant Superintendent, Student Wellness and Support

Describes opportunities for colleges and universities in building comprehensive school mental health services. This brief highlights strategies and exemplars to help accelerate innovation and advancement in K-12 school mental health systems.

Healthy foods

Provides in-depth knowledge to help adolescents develop healthy behaviors and reinforce healthy habits. Additionally, provides recommendations for how adults can help teens learn to make healthy food choices.

Graphic of students in front of a school.

Promotes healthy teen relationships including prevention strategies for individuals, peers, families, schools, and neighborhoods. Also, encourages ideas and experiences young teens need in order to have healthy relationships and prevent negative relationship behaviors early in life.

Suite of Mental Health Thumbnail

Provides data on the prevalence of common behavioral health issues while sharing information and customizable tools to promote student mental health. This suite of school mental health resources were developed to help state and local education agencies develop and sustain school mental health programs. 

Shows connection between school nutrition and social and emotional climate (SEC) and learning (SEL). This research brief describes the SEL core competencies and provides examples of school nutrition policies and practices that reflect each competency. 

Video still.

Examines the possible inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion in our nation’s schools. Additionally, focuses on providing technical assistance to support schools in understanding how Section 504, Title II, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) informs the development and implementation of policies governing the use of restraint and seclusion.

Desk chairs

Presents a comprehensive set of consensus-based and field-driven recommendations to improve conditions for learning for all students and educators, better support students with behavioral needs, improve police-schools partnerships, and keep students out of the juvenile justice system for minor offenses.

Related Resources






Grantee Highlight


American Institutes for Research

U.S. Department of Education

The contents of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments Web site were assembled under contracts from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Contract Number  91990021A0020.

This Web site is operated and maintained by AIR. The contents of this Web site do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education nor do they imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education.

©2023 American Institutes for Research — Disclaimer   |   Privacy Policy   |   Accessibility Statement