Klea Scharberg

The Best-Case Scenario

As demonstrated by the tragic events of not only the last few months in Connecticut, Georgia, and California, but also the last 10 years across the nation, school safety is a complicated issue with no single or simple solution. We have read, listened to, and participated in discussions on how to keep our schools safe and secure. From our homes, faculty rooms, school board meetings, and the halls of Congress, we are all moving from shock to recovery, fear to resiliency.

As educators, we put our students first every day. We know that fostering trusting relationships between adults and students is the most effective way to improve school safety. We work together to build positive school climate, create supportive environments, open doors, and invite the community into schools. We provide clearly communicated rules, values, and expectations that support everyone feeling safe and secure. We share resources on responding and building resiliency within safe learning environments before and after a crisis.

As we review and reinforce our schools' safety measures, we aren't planning for the worst-case scenario that might happen; we are working to make sure the best-case scenario—where schools are learning environments that are physically, socially, and emotionally safe for students and adults—is an everyday occurrence that does happen.

In February, we looked at what we, as educators, believe is crucial to making our schools safe—not just physically safe, but also safe places to teach and learn. Listen to the Whole Child Podcast with guests Joseph Bergant II, superintendent of Chardon Schools in Ohio; Howard Adelman, professor of psychology at UCLA and codirector of the School Mental Health Project and the Center for Mental Health in Schools (a whole child partner); and Jonathan Cohen, adjunct professor in psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and president and cofounder of whole child partner National School Climate Center. Read this blog to hear from guest authors and experts on the importance of safer, connected schools.

Have you signed up to receive the Whole Child Newsletter? Read this month's newsletter and visit the archive for more strategies, resources, and tools you can use to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

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