Wheel Four: School Climate

The fourth and final Wheel of Success focuses on a positive culture which consists of five components. School Climate outcomes embodied in the climate dimension of CHARACTER COUNTS! addresses all essential dimensions of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program.

The objective of this aspect of CHARACTER COUNTS! is to help achieve:

  • A welcoming and accessible environment
  • Respectful, positive and supportive relationships
  • Clean, fair and consistently implemented rules and policies
  • A culture of excellence through high expectations set upon students and staff
  • A growth mindset among students and staff
  • Engagement among student and a belief in ownership for their environment and each other
  • Parental involvement and connectedness
  • Teacher input, assessments and accountability
  1. Positive Culture
  2. Engagement
  3. Quality Instruction
  4. Inspirational Leadership
  5. Safety
  6. Positive Learning Environment


Key Attributes

Outcome (Discuss or Suggest How to Create)

SC1. Positive Culture

Welcoming and Accessible

Parents, students and staff feel valued and connected

Respectful and Supportive Relationships

All constituents of school community are treated and treat each other ethically and responsibly in accordance with 6 Pillars.

Clear, Fair and Consistently Implemented Rules and Policies

Rules and policies explicitly and practically establish clear behavior expectations and procedural protocols that are widely distributed and understood, that are perceived to be fair by all constituents and that are consistently implemented or enforced in a timely manner.

High Expectations and Standards (Culture of Excellence)

All communications and activities reflect high standards of excellence and competence re: performance and actions of teachers, and staff (including administrators), students and parents. Students do their best work and teachers demand, support and provide models of excellence. Students receive peer and teacher feedback and are given opportunities to revise and improve their work.

Growth Mindset

Students, parents and staff adopt, model and promote the growth mindset and the belief that confusion and mistakes are a natural part of learning and that all students can succeed and increase their academic and performance skills with diligent effort.


Each major constituency is provided with real and meaningful opportunities to give opinions and participate (at least on a discussion level) in both content and implementation decisions that significantly affect them.

Positive Relationships and Connectedness

Students participate in educational and co-curricular activities and form positive relationships and meaningful bonds with adults and fellow students so that they feel connected to and feel pride in their school.

Staff Morale

All levels of staff feel valued, treated fairly and believe they are an important part of the school’s mission. They have pride in the school, its mission and the role they play.

SC2. Engagement

Parent Involvement

A high percentage of parents at all grade levels attend events, respond to communications and volunteer to play some constructive role with the school. They are informed about the mission and methods of the school as well as their children’s progress.

Student Engagement

A high percentage of students are engaged in their own education by doing their homework, attending school regularly and asking questions. They are involved in and attend student activities.

Teacher Buy-In and Support

All teachers understand, accept and seek to advance the mission and vision of the school, including programs and strategies adopted to advance the mission. Even if they don’t fully agree, they accept their responsibility to play their role and they do not undermine constructive attempts to achieve institutional objectives.

Administrator Presence and Participation

Administrators are visible and participate actively in school and parent events, in classrooms and in reviews of instructors.

SC3. Quality Instruction

Effective Instructional Strategies

Teachers are personally responsible for continuous professional development in both the content of their course and effective ways to instill the knowledge, beliefs and attitudes that produce high academic performance, social and emotional competence and the development of critical life skills and character traits. Teachers are competent in and make judicious use of technology and social media.

Collaboration with Colleagues

Teachers are part of a professional learning community and they systematically discuss curriculum, instructional techniques, student progress, school climate and other matters affecting achievement of mission goals.

Proactive Interaction with

Teachers are responsive and helpful to parents who seek information or guidance, but they also proactively seek to engage parents in the academic and behavioral aspects of their children’s school experience.

Fair, Helpful Student

Teachers regularly provide specific constructive feedback of student work and encourage mastery learning, thus allowing students to persist until they achieve competency. Teachers also provide written and oral performance assessments of progress (including narrative evaluation of strengths and
areas that need improvement) to students and their parents.

Teacher Assessments, Feedback and Accountability

Teacher effectiveness is regularly assessed by peers and administrators. Teachers receive detailed and constructive feedback and are ultimately held accountable to achieving with excellence all their job responsibilities.

SC4. Inspirational Leadership

Inspires Commitment to Vision

The principal, with the input of teachers, staff and parents, formulates a vision for school improvement and inspires commitment to the vision by all critical constituencies.

a Strategic Plan

The leadership team formulates specific measurable objectives for each year and a strategy and timeline to achieve those objectives.

Effective and Efficient Management

Administrators are effective managers of the people and fiscal resources of the school.

Trust and Confidence of Constituents

Leadership creates and retains a high degree of credibility and trust among teachers, other staff, parents and students.

Regular Communication

Leadership systematically and effectively communicates with teachers, staff, parents and students regarding matters that concern them and is accessible for response and feedback.

SC5. Safety

Security – Re: Outside Threats

The school maintains visible and competent security personnel and/or other measures to protect against outside intrusion or threats.

Practical and Effective Disciplinary Rules, Policies and Strategies to Prevent and Deal with Violence, Physical and Cyber bullying and Emotional Abuse

The school has, and regularly enforces, comprehensive practical rules, policies and procedures to prevent and deal with violence, physical and cyber bullying and emotional abuse.

Emergency Preparedness

The school has a current plan and the necessary trained resources to deal with emergencies of all sorts (e.g., weather, fire and school shooters).

Process to Detect and Deal with Weapons, Drugs and Alcohol

The school has effective surveillance and other methods of detecting weapons and drug or alcohol use and clear policies for dealing with violations of school policies in these areas.

Prevention of Dangerous Physical Conditions

The school implements a regular safety check system of all school facilities to detect and repair any dangerous conditions.

SC6. Positive Learning Environment

Attractiveness and Maintenance of Physical Plant

The school demonstrates pride and responsibility in the physical appearance of all school facilities and strives to assure that instances of deterioration are removed and that areas are clean, painted and regularly maintained.

Instructional Areas Conducive to Learning

Classrooms and other learning venues are designed and maintained to provide a clean, quiet learning environment.

Adequate Physical Space in Classrooms

Instructional and other facilities are sufficient to allow students and teachers to safely and comfortably engage in educational and co-curricular activities.

Adequate Resources for Instruction and Co-Curricular Activities.

School has adequate learning and co-curricular activity resources (e.g., books, white boards, equipment) to achieve educational objectives.

Other Domains