photo of students


to the California Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) website.

In October 2010, California became one of eleven states selected by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to receive a four-year Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) grant. This grant is intended to support statewide measurement of conditions for learning (known also as school climate), as well as targeted programmatic interventions to improve those conditions in comprehensive high schools (grades 9-12) with the greatest need. In particular, this initiative is designed to help address disruptive behaviors in school—such as bullying, harassment and violence, and substance use—and promote safe, caring, engaging, and healthy school environments that foster learning and well-being among both students and staff.

This website is a resource for supporting the S3 programmatic intervention grantees in their efforts, as well as supporting non-grantee schools undertaking the important task of fostering positive school climate as part of school improvement plans. It provides access to a wide range of publications, tools, trainings, and other technical assistance to support data-driven school climate improvement, which begins with assessing needs and leads to the implementation and monitoring of best practices, programs, and strategies to meet those needs.

Assessing Needs

The first step to improving school climate is assessing needs. Surveying students, teachers, and school staff can provide valuable data about how each group of individuals perceives conditions for learning. Such information can then be used to design prevention and intervention programs specific to the needs of the school community.

The California School Climate, Health, and Learning Survey System (Cal-SCHLS) provides comprehensive, research-validated instruments for assessing students, staff, and parents, as well as a wide range of support materials for understanding and using the survey results. Visit the Cal-SCHLS website to learn more about using data to drive school improvement.

What else can you do?

If you are a school or district administrator, teacher, school support staff member, state administrator, or community or family member, the National Safe and Supportive Schools website has information, resources, and tools to help you understand the goals of S3 and how you can become involved. You can also visit the Cal-SCHLS website to look for student and staff surveys on school climate from your district or county.

Tom Torlakson

“California's Safe and Supportive Schools grant is helping improve school climate in some of the state's most challenged high schools. This website is an important new tool to help all California schools foster more positive school climates that engage students in learning, improve staff job satisfaction, and increase parent involvement.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Arne Duncan on School Climate

Highlights of Student Perspectives on Safe and Supportive Schools

View the full video about Student Perspectives on Safe and Supportive Schools

The School Climate Connection Newsletter is a weekly to biweekly publication. Subscribe in the link above or read current and archived newsletters here.

If your school is in one of the 59 districts that participated in baseline data collection through Cal-SCHLS, you can find your School Climate Report Card in the above database.

Why School Climate Matters

A growing body of research shows that school climate strongly influences students’ motivation to learn and their academic achievement, as well as teacher job satisfaction and retention. Read more...


California S3 2013-2014 Statewide Evaluation Results (pdf) | This report reviews baseline-to-final year School Climate Index score changes with comparisons to non-funded schools, as well as formative outcomes from site visit reviews. The combined results strongly indicate the success of the S3 program in improving elements of school climate for the funded schools as a whole.

Improving School Climate and Academic Achievement in California (pdf) | After two years of program implementation, the majority of S3 schools improved not only their school climate but also student academic achievement. This document discusses these findings and provides success stories from participating schools.

A Climate for Academic Success (pdf) | This new report from WestEd highlights positive school climate, a crucial factor associated with schools that consistently "beat the odds" and realize greater academic success than predicted for their student population.

Query CHKS Supports Your S3 School Climate Improvement Efforts | Query CHKS gives you access to valuable California Healthy Kids Survey data and analyses to help you better understand your CSCS results and support your S3 work. You can drill down and disaggregate data along variables such as grade, region, and individual survey items. Discussions on the significance of CHKS topics, policy implications, and the general status of how children in CA are faring are also provided.

Stay Informed | There are lots of ways to stay informed about the most recent research, practices, and events in school climate improvement and youth development. Signing up for any of these newsletters can help keep you in the loop and provide you with great resources.