School Climate and Safety, and School Discipline and Classroom Management

Building Strong Schools to Strengthen Student Outcomes—A Summer Review of Previous Blogs (IV of IV)

Dear Colleagues,


I hope you are doing well, and that your summer has been both peaceful and productive.

Over the course of the summer, I have devoted my “Summer Series” to helping you to read, re-read, or re-conceptualize my most-popular Blogs by organizing them in a thematic way.

To be more specific, I have reviewed and organized virtually all of these popular Blogs (available to over 250,000 educators across the nation) into four clusters:

  •  School Improvement, Strategic Planning, and Effective School and Schooling Policies and Practices
  • The New Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA/ESSA), and Multi-Tiered and Special Education Services
  • Students’ Mental Health Status and Wellness, and School Discipline and Disproportionality
  • School Climate and Safety, and School Discipline and Classroom Management

The Summer Series began on June 17 focusing on the Blogs that broadly addressed School Improvement.

The Series continued on July 1 with a Blog on ESEA/ESSA and Multi-tiered and Special Education Services.

On July 15, the Blog synthesized my previous Student Mental Health Status and Wellness, and School Discipline/Disproportionality Blogs.

Today, in the final installment of this Series, I discuss my past Blogs addressing “School Climate and Safety, and School Discipline and Classroom Management.”

Below, I provide you with the Dates and Titles of past Blog messages in this cluster—so you can look up and read at your “summer leisure” those that particularly interest you.

But. . . in addition, today’s Blog also concludes the discussion—begun in the June 17 and continued in July 1 and 15 blogs—of the essential elements of Project ACHIEVE ( The first installment discussed an overview of Project ACHIEVE, while the second installment addressed Project ACHIEVE’s goals and model. The third installment described the first four of the seven interdependent evidence-based components that guide Project ACHIEVE’s school improvement process.

Today, I will describe the last three components.

Briefly, Project ACHIEVE is the evidence-based national model school improvement program (as designated in 2000 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration—SAMHSA) that I have developed over the past 30 years, and that is the foundation behind my thinking, writing, and practice.

Project ACHIEVE components have been implemented in “Great to Greater” through “Needs Improvement” preschools through high schools nationwide—as well as in alternative, residential treatment, juvenile justice, special education, and other specialized school centers.

In total, Project ACHIEVE’s seven interdependent components are:

  • Strategic Planning and Organizational Analysis and Development
  • Multi-tiered Problem Solving, Response-to-Intervention, Teaming, and Consultation Processes
  • Effective School, Schooling, and Professional Development
  • Multi-tiered Academic Instruction linked to Academic Assessment, Intervention, and Achievement
  • Multi-tiered Positive Behavioral Support/Behavioral Instruction linked to Behavioral Assessment, Intervention, and Self-Management
  • Parent and Community Involvement, Training, Support, and Outreach
  • Data Management, Evaluation, and Accountability

The Last Three Project ACHIEVE School Improvement Components

Project ACHIEVE is an innovative school reform and school improvement program that has been implemented in schools and school districts in every state in the country since 1990. To date, one or more of its components have been presented to thousands of schools nationwide—in schools ranging from urban to suburban to rural, and from the lowest performing to the highest performing schools in the nation.

At its core, Project ACHIEVE provides implementation blueprints that are based on research-proven and empirically-demonstrated effective practices woven together into an implementation process that works.

Initially, we work with schools to complete a comprehensive needs assessment and resource analysis to determine their current needs, the approaches they are using that are working, the gaps that are preventing them from improving further, and the strategic goals and outcomes that are indicated or desired.

Below are brief descriptions of the last three Project ACHIEVE components:

The Multi-tiered Positive Behavioral Support/Behavioral Instruction linked to Behavioral Assessment, Intervention, and Self-Management Component

This component focuses on the implementation of effective school discipline, classroom management, and student self-management services, supports, strategies, and interventions. The latter area targets preschool through high school students’ social, emotional, and behavioral self-management skills—especially their positive and prosocial interpersonal, social awareness and problem-solving, conflict prevention and intervention, and emotional control and coping skills.

All of this is done along a prevention, strategic intervention, and intensive need/crisis management multi-tiered continuum. In total, this component helps schools to develop a comprehensive, school-wide “Positive Behavioral Support System” (PBSS) which includes the use of social skills training with all students by school staff and parents; the development of classroom, grade-level, and building-wide accountability systems; and the use of “special situation” analyses to address building and peer-driven situations; and the development of crisis prevention, intervention, and response procedures and teams.

Critically, when students do not respond—socially, emotionally, or behaviorally—to prevention and social skill-oriented PBSS strategies, “21st Century” functional assessments are conducted and linked to strategic behavioral interventions that are designed to resolve the identified behavioral challenges.

The Parent and Community Involvement, Training, Support, and Outreach Component

This component focuses on increasing the involvement of all parents, but especially the involvement of the parents of at-risk, underachieving, and students with disabilities. Relative to community involvement, many schools do not use, much less know, the expertise and resources available to them that can help their mission and the progress of their students. For students with significant academic or behavioral challenges, the coordination and integration of community-based professionals and services often results in stronger and more pervasive progress and outcomes.

The Data Management, Evaluation, and Accountability Component

This component focuses on actively evaluating, formatively and summatively, the status and progress of students’ academic and behavioral mastery of skills and concepts, as well as the processes and activities embedded in all of the other Project ACHIEVE components—that is, the essential components of an effective school.

Part of this process involves collecting formative and summative data that validate the impact of a school’s strategic planning and school improvement efforts; its professional development and capacity-building efforts relative to the staff; its selection, training and implementation of academic and behavioral curricula and, later, interventions; and its effectiveness relative to the functional assessment, strategic intervention, and response-to-instruction-and-intervention services for students not making appropriate academic and behavioral progress.

Another part of this process involves evaluating the consultative success of related service and support personnel with classroom teachers, as well as the interpersonal interactions that address the other process-oriented parts of the Seven C’s (Communication, Caring, Commitment, Collaboration, Consultation, Consistency, and Celebration) that influence system, staff, and student success.

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School Climate and Safety, and School Discipline and Classroom Management

With the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA/ESSA), the importance of looking at and nurturing the non-academic factors that impact students’ academic proficiency is more important than ever before. This especially includes ensuring that all schools are safe with consistently positive classroom climates, and that school discipline and classroom management are an inherent part of the “academic program.”

Beyond ESEA/ESSA, however, school safety and discipline are constantly discussed in national reports and research, in the popular press, and on social media. As such, over the past three years, I have written a number of Blogs addressing, for example: student engagement, the role and impact of school resource officers, student violence and injuries, and my ongoing concern that many school discipline “programs” have not been independently and comprehensively validated, and that they too often “promise the moon, but do not deliver the cheese.”

Below is a list of the Dates and Titles of the Blogs addressing topics in these areas. To find the Complete Blog Cited Below:

Please go to the right-hand side of this Blog page. There you will find a Blog Archive. Using that Archive, pull down the month and year of the Blog you are interested in, and click on the Blog’s title to link to the original message.

Here are the Past Blogs:

School Climate and Safety

May 15, 2016: Student Engagement (Down), Teacher Satisfaction (Down), School Safety and Academic Expectations (Down)-- How Do We Raise Up our Students and Schools to Success?

April 17, 2016: School Resource Officers: Helping or Hurting Students and School Discipline? The Need to Integrate Criteria for Hiring, Training, and Involving School Resource Officers, School-based Police, and Security Guards in Our Schools, and into the ESEA/ESSA’s Required Bullying, Restraint, and Suspension Plans

August 3, 2014: Implementing the U.S. Department of Education's School Safety Report: Resources to Prepare your School at the Policy, Procedure, and Practice Levels

June 22, 2014: The 2013 U.S. School Crime Report Just Released by the US Departments of Education and Justice: Making Schools Safer during the Summer, so They are Safe in the Fall

June 8, 2014: New National Report Discusses Ways to Improve School Learning Conditions for Students and Staff. . . and How to Break the "School to Prison" Link for Behaviorally Challenging Students

January 26, 2014: New Brown University Study: 90,000 Students per Year Suffer "Intentional" Injuries at School between 2001 and 2008….Resources to Help Schools and Districts Prevent Student Violence, Assaults, and Aggression

January 12, 2014: U.S. Department of Education Report: "Guiding Principles: A Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline"

School Discipline and Classroom Management

June 4, 2017: Effective School-wide Discipline Approaches: Avoiding Educational Bandwagons that Promise the Moon, Frustrate Staff, and Potentially Harm Students... Implementation Science and Systematic Practice versus Pseudoscience, Menu-Driven Frameworks, and “Convenience Store” Implementation

January 7, 2017: Education Week Series on RtI Highlights Kentucky/ Appalachian Mountain Grant Site’s Successful School Discipline Program: An Overview of the Scientific Components Behind this Success, and a Free Implementation Guide for Those Who Want to Follow

November 27, 2016: When Character Education Programs Do Not Work: Creating “Awareness” Does NOT CHANGE “Behavior” . . . TEACHING Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Skills Requires Behavioral Instruction

August 7, 2016: Effective School Discipline, Classroom Management, and Student Self-Management: The Five Components that Every School Needs. . . Reflections on a National Survey of Administrators and Teachers

July 9, 2016: Teaching Students Self-Management Skills: If We Want Them to Behave, We Need to Teach Them to Behave

May 30, 2016: The Difference between Social Stories and Social Skills Training? A BIG Difference!

November 1, 2015: Research to Practice: How do Teachers Influence Students' Classroom Self-Management? New Report says that Positive Classroom Climates and Relationships Most Influence Student Motivation

September 19, 2015: Why Students Don't Behave? Because We are not Teaching Them the Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Skills that They Need

August 22, 2015: New National Education Association (NEA) Policy Brief Highlights Project ACHIEVE's Positive Behavioral Support System (PBSS) as an Evidence-based Model for School Discipline, Classroom Management, and Student Self-Management

July 8, 2015: The Unfulfilled Promise of Education: Students' Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Skills

March 1, 2014: Implementing the U.S. Department of Education's New School Discipline Policies: A Three-Year Positive Behavioral Support Implementation Blueprint

December 15, 2013: The National Council on Teacher Quality and The New York Times: Teacher Training Programs NOT Preparing New Teachers in Classroom Management, and Zero Tolerance Procedures for School Discipline Do not Work


I hope you found this and the three preceding Blogs helpful and meaningful to your work.

I always look forward to your comments. . . whether on-line or via e-mail.

And—with the new school year almost upon us: If I can help you in any of the areas discussed in this and the other Blog messages, I am always happy to provide a free one-hour consultation conference call to help you clarify your needs and directions on behalf of your students, staff/colleagues, school(s), and district.

Please accept my best wishes for the remainder of your summer !!! Believe it or not, some of you will be heading back to the classroom before my next Blog message.