Summer Institute 2014

The National School Climate Center in partnership with the Winston Preparatory Schools present the 17th Annual Summer Institute

School Climate Renewal and the Common Core: Promoting Social, Emotional and Civic as well as Intellectual Learning

July 8-10th, 2014
Held at The Winston Preparatory School,
126 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011
Register Now

The National School Climate Center’s (NSCC) Summer Institute is grounded in the notion that effective school reform must honor and support the whole child and the whole school community. This three-day Institute is designed to support school, district and state teams, as well as other school, family and community leaders, in developing continuous school climate improvement plans.

The Common Core State Standards (Common Core) provides a clear, consistent definition of what students are expected to learn and what is needed to prepare all students for success in postsecondary college or career preparation and life in the 21st century. However, the Common Core continues to focus on cognitive learning alone. Yet, research shows that school – and life – success are grounded in social, emotional and civic as well as intellectual or cognitive learning.

NSCC’s 17th annual summer institute presents a range of ways that K-12 educators can and need to consider integrating Common Core, school climate improvement and prosocial educational goals and the range of instructional and school wide improvement goals we use to actualize these goals.

The Common Core focuses on cognitive learning for students.

School climate reform supports students, parents/guardians, school personnel and even community members learning and working together to create even safer, more supportive, engaging and flourishing schools. School climate reform focuses on the social, emotional and civic as well as intellectual aspects of student learning and school life.

A growing number of federal agencies (the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SAMPSA and the Institute for Educational Sciences) as well as State Departments of Education and districts are endorsing and/or supporting school climate reform. But, a national survey reveals that 9 out of 10 respondents report a “high” to “very high” need for detailed information, guidelines and tools to support policy, practice and leadership development efforts. This Institute will provide just these guidelines, information and tools!

Promoting an understanding of how we can and need to integrate the new Common Core and school climate reform/prosocial education will be the focus for our 17th annual summer institute. Teaching and learning is a foundational dimension of school climate. And, when students, parents/guardians and educators consider what kind of school they want theirs to be, they always voice a need and wish for learning and teaching to be social, emotional and civic as well as intellectual. The Common Core is now dominating educational conversions at the building, state and to some extent state levels. The good news is that the Common Core goes much “deeper” than NCLB’s almost exclusive focus on reading, math and science scores. However, the Common Core is largely instructionally focused and attuned to cognitive learning that does not explicitly recognize and support the social, emotional, civic and ethical aspects of student learning. And, the Common Core does not recognize or focus on the essential importance of creating a climate for learning and the range of ways that students, parents, school personnel and even community members can and need to be co-learners and co-leaders together, under the leadership of the Principal.

This year, we will focus on a series of explicit and essential questions throughout the Institute. These questions include: How can we productively integrate Common Core goals on the one hand and school climate reform/prosocial educational goals on the other hand? What opportunities does the school climate improvement process—Planning, Evaluation, Action Planning, Implementation, and beginning anew—provide to further Common Core goals?

The Institute will provide research-based school climate and instructional guidelines, “best practices”, and resources for school teams and individuals to reflect on and enhance current practice. We will support individuals and teams to develop new or enhance existing plans that promote equitable, healthy and democratically informed schools in general and reduce bully-victim-bystander behavior in particular.

Attendees will receive a number of text-based and on-line practice and policy resources, which provide guidelines and tools to support leadership teams and school communities addressing the tasks and challenges that define each of the five stages of the school climate improvement process. Additionally, research resources and best practice materials from the educational equity community will be included.

Participants will learn about:

  • A school climate improvement model and implementation strategy that recognizes and mobilizes the whole school community to support the whole child.
  • Readiness assessments that support you—as an individual or a team—understanding “where are we now?” and “what are next steps that may be most useful to consider?” as you continue building effective school climate improvement efforts.
  • Recent research and best practices in prosocial education (SEL and character education) and school climate improvement efforts that support effective bully/harassment prevention, pro-Upstander behavior, and student engagement and academic achievement.
  • Practical classroom, school-wide, and school-home-community interventions and tools that support moral-ethical learning, equity, safety, engagement, supportive and respectful relations and democratically informed communities.
  • The range of ways that we can and need to engage youth as leaders and how we—as adults—can model strategies that support student engagement/ leadership.
  • What other classroom, building, district and state leaders are doing to support evidence-based school climate reform (strand meetings).
  • How school leaders embarking on or continuing school climate improvement efforts can promote ethical/moral development and learning within social, emotional and civic learning and democratically informed school communities.
  • School Climate Resource Center: Attendees will join a national community of fellow learners/teachers through the School Climate Resource Center (SCRC) ( The SCRC includes a range of resources and forums (see below for details in: Before/After the Institute.

Note: When a team of three or more attends the Summer Institute, twenty-five members of your school community will have access to the SCRC for the 2013-14 school year.


All participants will receive certification of attendance at the Institute.

In addition, participants will have the option of applying for the School Climate Leadership Certificate Program. For details about the Leadership program, please click here.

This institute will support required training for school staff on state and federal laws designed to provide students with an educational experience free from harassment and discrimination.  This includes state laws such as The Dignity for All Students Act in New York, and anti-bullying laws in New Jersey and other states.

This institute supports requirements of The Dignity for All Students Act, including training about anti hate and harassment policy development, staff professional development, student instruction on civility, citizenship and character education, and responding to equity-related violations of the code of conduct.

The NSCC Summer Institute is the best intensive learning experience I am aware of with regard to creating a positive climate for safe, caring, and supportive schools that promote the academic and social-emotional competencies of students. The Summer Institute creates the kind of learning climate for attendees that it teaches you to create in your school settings. You will carry the learning back with you and become part of a network of caring educators and Summer Institute alumni dedicated to putting children first.
—Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D.
Rutgers University
Psychology Department
Academic Director, Rutgers Civic Engagement and Service Education Partnerships Program (CESEP) (
Director, Developing Safe and Civil Schools (DSACS) (
Founding Member, CASEL Leadership Team