School Climate Alliance



If you are interested in finding out more about this research alliance or membership, contact:

Tom Hanson

School Climate Alliance Staff at REL West

Many students attend schools with poor climate—schools whose environments lack resources that support learning, such as safety, interpersonal support, and meaningful opportunities to participate.

Recognizing that school climate is a factor in student health and learning, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools established the Safe and Support Schools (S3) grant program to help states develop sound and actionable measures of school climate, and to use the resulting data to improve schools.

California received S3 grants in October 2010, but middle schools were not included in funding. The state values and wants to develop a broader approach to school accountability and improvement, incorporating measures of school climate and teacher and student engagement.

This alliance operates as a networked improvement community, in which school-level core teams analyze school safety and climate data to select, implement, and test appropriate interventions. LEA and SEA teams contribute expertise and help with both research and statewide dissemination of new knowledge about effective ways to improve school climate.

Goals and Objectives

  • Alliance member schools will be able to communicate and disseminate school climate data to a variety of audiences, including students, parents, staff, and the community; will participate in data-sharing practices during formal webinars/meetings; and will actively seek school climate information as a result of participating in the school climate learning community.
  • Alliance schools/districts will be able to select evidence-based strategies most appropriate for addressing their school climate and school improvement needs, and use data to monitor the potential impact of implemented strategies. Ultimately, alliance member schools will improve the social and educational environments of their schools, enhance student engagement, and improve student learning.
  • Through development of rigorous, comprehensive measurement systems to assess school climate in individual middle schools, and demonstrating how collaborating schools and districts engage in a school climate continuous improvement process, state department of education alliance members will be provided with a demonstration model of how schools can utilize school climate data in school improvement efforts. Participating state departments of education will disseminate alliance-developed tools and practices statewide.


Core members of the alliance include key California Department of Education staff, and district- and school-level teams from Colton Unified, Hemet Unified, Huntington Beach City, Murrieta Valley Unified, Pomona Unified, Poway Unified, St. Helena Unified, Victor Valley Union High, and West Contra Costa Unified school districts. 

Other partners include the Alliance for the Study of School Climate and researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara.