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The Climate Change We Crave: Positive School Environments

School gun violence has caused parents and the public to focus on security and turn school buildings into fortresses, but we’ve learned from the investigation at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL that the shooter never entered a classroom when he killed 17 people on February 14. This webinar examines an alternate strategy: positive school climate, defined as norms, values, and expectations that support people feeling socially, emotionally and physically safe. Building positive school climate is highly correlated with reducing school violence and improving student behavior, learning and mental health. Our speakers describe the characteristics of positive school climate and the research and data on this issue that demonstrate its effectiveness, as well as the obstacles that prevent widespread change. Speakers include renowned academicians and researchers, a New Jersey classroom teacher and high school student activists who successfully advocated before the state assembly for improved mental health curriculum for Virginia students.


  • Yoli Anyon, Associate Professor, University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work
  • Dewey G. Cornell, Professor of Education, University of Virginia Curry School of Education and Human Development
  • Michael Dunlea, New Jersey State Teacher of the Year Finalist 2012
  • Dorothy L. Espelage, Ph.D., William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Education, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education
  • Lucas Johnson
  • Alex Moreno
  • Choetsaw Tenzin

Co-Sponsor: ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice Education Committee

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