In order for schools and districts to create a positive climate that can support students, staff, and families through these challenging times, their guiding principles should emphasize themes of community and racial justice. Further there must be strong alignment between these guiding principles (i.e., policies) and procedures and practices on the ground. School and districts should review existing policies to ensure they promote a positive school climate for all students (e.g., homeless students, English language learners, students with disabilities). A good starting point for refreshing policies is a revisitation of vision and mission statements to ensure that they convey messages of togetherness and equity. Now is an ideal time for schools and districts to revisit and refresh their vision and mission statements to ensure that they are responsive to the moment we are in. A vision statement is concise and articulates the broad goals and values of the schools. A mission statement is longer and provides some detail as to how the school’s and district’s vision will be achieved. The strategies listed below can support schools and districts as they strive to be more inclusive, be more supportive of diverse students, and better prepare students for success.
- Be aware of and help with the development of school and district policies leading to equitable treatment of all students and challenge school policies that hinder equitable treatment of any student within the academic setting.
- Ensure vision, mission, policies, and procedures align with a positive school climate.
- Engage stakeholders (e.g., families, educators, students, community members) in the process to ensure that policies, procedures, and practices are implemented to promote an equitable and inclusive environment for all students.
- Confirm that the vision and mission emphasize community engagement and resilience may help students, staff, and families feel safe and supported.