Our Approach

Our Five-Stage School Climate Improvement Process


NSCC’s approach is based on our 5X5 School Climate Improvement Process: combining our 5-Stage Improvement Cycle with our research-backed 5 Domains of School Climate. Our approach grows out of NSCC’s experience in working with schools, districts, school networks, state departments of education, as well as research findings. NSCC’s school climate improvement process is a data-informed, people-driven, and a cyclical five-stage process. The five stages are: preparation, evaluation, understanding findings and action planning, implementing plans, and re-evaluation for continuous improvement efforts.  The five domains of school climate are Safety, Teaching and Learning, Interpersonal Relationships, Institutional Environment, and Leadership and Efficacy.


The 5X5 Process supports shared leadership that encompasses the entire district, including the school building, classroom, individual students, and the broader community:

  • District: Supports the development of school climate-informed policies that will engender stronger relationships within the school that both prevent issues and help adults respond more effectively when issues do arise.
  • School Building: Builds the skills, knowledge, and capacity of school leadership to effectively address areas for improvement, develop more positive school climate, and implement “bottom-up” as well as “top-down” strategies; teaches schools to use robust assessments- including student, parent/ guardian, and staff school climate perception data to define their strengths and challenges, drive key decisions for improvement, and create targeted plans to address areas of need
  • Classroom: Provides a variety of pedagogic strategies to create a classroom climate for learning and positive youth development; teaches restorative classroom discipline strategies that support classroom management and promote core social, emotional and civic learning; provides opportunities for teachers and administrators to reflect on how they support and institutionalize respect and an appreciation for diversity; provides planning and implementation supports for curricula that fosters academic, social, ethical, and civic learning outcomes
  • Student: Supports youth to become meaningful leaders in the school climate improvement process; builds an authentic sense of ownership for their efforts to create a stronger school climate; creates opportunities to strengthen community bonds through youth-led engagement efforts; and strengthens youth and adult partnerships
  • Community: Recognizes the multiple stakeholders in a school community and strengthens relationships within the school between students, staff, and parents, as well as the school’s relationships with the larger community i.e. neighborhood associations, local business, non-profits, government.