Attendance; Bullying; Discipline; Diversity and Equity; Engagement; LGBTQ Supports; Mental Health; Safety; Social-Emotional Learning; California Corner; Resources & Upcoming Events
School Climate Connection Newsletter

Reducing Chronic Absenteeism. Policy Analysis for California Education provides examples of local efforts to improve student attendance and steps to build the capacity of schools and communities to keep kids in school.

Strategies. An Attendance Playbook provides nearly two dozen practical strategies for improving attendance that have strong track records, many easy to introduce and simple to scale.

Award Strategies.  In a recent study, attendance awards backfired, giving students a “license to miss more school” and actually driving absentee rates up.


Prevention.  A sense of belonging is as a factor that may help curb bullying. 

Suicide Risk.  Being bullied may increase the risk of suicide attempts among young adolescents by approximately three times, according to a new worldwide study.

Bullying and Substance Use. A U.S. News analysis of data from the California Healthy Kids Survey for the 2017-18 school year found that high school students who experienced bias-related bullying at school were more likely to engage in alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use. While overall rates of bias-related bullying are generally lower in California counties where residential segregation by race has been highest, bullying that does occur there may be more harmful in that it results in higher rates of substance use. 


Teacher Attitudes Toward Suspensions.  New Thomas B. Fordham Institute research shows while teachers are supportive of new approaches to discipline, and consider out-of-school suspensions racially biased and potentially harmful, both black and white teachers still think suspension is sometimes appropriate and have a role in controlling student behavior, with about half of teachers saying that schools should suspend students more often.

Suspension Analysis.  During the 2015-16 school year, more than 2.7 million public school students nationally received at least one out-of-school suspension, according to a new report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  Students of color are overrepresented in punishments, including exclusionary discipline, but don't misbehave more frequently than their white peers.  The Commission recommends reinstating guidance from the Obama administration on how to address disparities in school discipline.

National Discipline Data. NCES 2017-18 survey data shows nearly half of schools are employing police but increasing numbers are engaging in more “restorative practices” and alternative forms of discipline meant to keep students in schools.

Suspensions and Criminal Offenses.  School suspensions have been linked to an increase in subsequent criminal offending, suggesting the suspensions had a negative, harmful effect.

Cyberbullying Trends.  Reports of cyberbullying increased between 2015 and 2017 despite increased prevention efforts by educators, according to NCES.  

 Diversity and Equity

Principal Preparation.  Nearly 40% of white principals say their school leadership preparation programs did not fully equip them to support the needs of black, Latino, and low-income students, according to a RAND study.

School Segregation.  In 2015, the average Latino student attended an elementary school with only 30% white students, compared to 40% in 1998, demonstrating an increased level of ethnic segregation, according to a UC Berkeley analysis.


Cell Phone Ban. San Mateo High School (CA) has become the largest public school in the country to ban cell phones, providing students with locked pouches to store their phones.
 LGBTQ Youth
History Requirements.  Illinois has become the fourth state to mandate teaching LGBT history (effective July 2020), after California, New Jersey, and Colorado. Nationwide, just under a quarter of students in a 2016 survey said that they have learned about LGBT-related topics in their classes.

Federal Complaint Actions. Students' discrimination complaints related to sexual orientation and gender identity have been much less likely to lead to corrective changes in schools under the Trump administration than they did under the Obama administration, an analysis of federal records finds.

 Mental Health

Suicide Prevention. As part of a new California law, student IDs for every secondary and college student will have suicide prevention information printed on the back.

Federal Guidance. Federal agencies have released an Informational Bulletin providing guidance for schools regarding options within and outside of Medicaid to provide mental health and substance use services for students.

Teacher Preparation. Child Trends discusses ways teacher training can be improved to build their capacity to more effectively address the mental health needs of students.

Mental Health Sick Days.  Oregon now allows students to take “mental health days” just as they would sick days, one of the first laws of its kind in the U.S.

See Upcoming Events.


Random Weapons Searches. In over seven months, 39 newly-launched random searches using wand-type metal detectors at Clark County (NV) School District middle and high schools turned up no guns or knives, although 36 firearms were confiscated through other means.  Last month, Los Angeles USD stopped the practice as ineffective.

Diversionary Program. Riverside County (CA) government has settled a class-action lawsuit over a controversial school-based probation program, highlighting potential pitfalls in how schools partner with law enforcement on campus.  The program intended to divert "at-risk" students from juvenile justice.

 Social-Emotional Learning
Fostering Mental Health. Schools in Georgia are finding innovative ways to make social and emotional learning part of the curriculum to teach mental health.

Strategies. One good place to find opportunities to support SEL among students may be school breakfast in the classroom.

School Safety & Mental Health Crisis Training.  LEAs are encouraged to participate in free school safety and mental health trainings available through the Project Cal-STOP initiative. 

LCFF Update. A PPIC study finds that, after five years under the LCFF, high-need schools are still too reliant on novice teachers and better-off districts are not doing enough for poorer kids.

Resource Officers. The Sacramento City Unified school board has cut the number of school resource officers on district campuses by more than half in part to save money but also to look at new models for school safety and law enforcement’s role on its campuses.

Addressing Racism. Read how affluent Acalanes Union School District has been tackling racism.

Teacher-Student Interaction Policies. The San Diego County Office of Education adopted a new policy that governs boundaries between adults and students following an investigation that highlighted how many districts lack such policies.

CalSCHLS Helpline:  888.841.7536
SCCN #80  08/30/19
In this issue:

 Diversity and Equity
 LGBTQ Supports
 Mental Health
 Social-Emotional Learning
 California Corner
Upcoming Events


SCCN updates and other resources are posted on CDE's School Climate Website by Topic Category
 Upcoming Events

Free Training

School Safety & Mental Health Crisis training from the Project Cal-STOP initiative.
Request Training

Team NAMI: Raising Voices
Multicultural Symposium in Stockton, CA

Sat, Oct 12, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Bridge the gap created by mental health stigma by bringing together Northern California community leaders, providers, and peers from diverse communities
Information & Registration

Youth Mental Health First Aid training from CDE
Information  &  Flyer

The School Climate Connection Newsletter is provided monthly by WestEd under contract from the California Department of Education (CDE). Its purpose is to disseminate current information on school climate practices, policies, and resources to empower schools on improving school safety, conditions for learning, and pupil engagement and well-being. It includes up-to-date information on California's School Climate, Health, and Learning Survey (CalSCHLS) System (see

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