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School Climate: the Newest Indicator



Positive School Climate has become a priority for many states in ESSA plans, as they aim to improve overall student success.  States were required to select a “fifth indicator” in accountability plans under ESSA. Eight states selected School Climate as a fifth indicator, according to this article from The74Million. Because of this, there is new interest in evidence-based programs that focus on supporting a positive school climate.

Studies are showing the value of a positive school climate on students’ overall success and attendance. This article outlines some of the national research in this area and posits that positive school climate is a growing emphasis for principals and other administrators.

ESSA has also introduced new funding through the Title IV block grant, of which 20% is earmarked specifically for school safety/climate. Social emotional learning, positive discipline, anti-bullying curriculum, and positive behavior interventions and supports are all focuses of this new bucket of funding.


The importance of School Climate has new but growing relevance in terms of funding. Funding for the Title IV block grant has increased from $400 million to $1.1 billion for 2018-19, and some states have indicated that they intend to allocate more than the required 20% on School Safety/School Climate. The current national rise in school shootings has placed a sharp focus on tactics that can help students feel like they are valued members of a safe school community.  Expect to see more funding to support positive School Climate in the years ahead.