How Positive School Climate Can Enhance School Safety


On Thursday September 26, 2013 the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) and the Readiness and Emergency Management (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center hosted a webinar that provided an in-depth review of the “A Closer Look” section of the Obama Administration’s recently released Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans and Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Institutions of Higher Education. These new Guides, developed by ED in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Justice (DOJ), led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Health and Human Services, represent the culmination of years of work by the Federal government.

The webinar was presented by David Esquith, Director of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students. Mr. Esquith served in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services for 23 years prior to coming to OSHS and brings a wealth of program and management experience having worked with formula and discretionary grant programs in the Office of Special Education Programs, the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). His co-presenter was Dr. David Osher, whose work at AIR focuses on school improvement and educational equity, interagency and cross-stakeholder collaboration, children’s services, mental health, prevention, performance measurement and improvement, social emotional learning, cultural competence, and the conditions for learning and healthy development. He currently serves as Principal Investigator of four major research and technical assistance centers funded by the U. S. government: The National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Violence Prevention, The Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health; The National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At Risk; and the National Center for Safe and Supportive Schools.

This webinar provided participants with an overview on how a positive school climate can help schools and communities prevent emergencies and enhance school safety. It also provided information on effective strategies for creating positive conditions for learning to achieve academically and behaviorally important outcomes for all students.

This 59-minute webinar session included a live PowerPoint presentation, as well as a Question and Answer session following the presentation.


About Author

School Safety Partners is dedicated to creating long-term funding partnerships to support school safety best practices. We are both a community of interest and a facilitator of joint research projects, reaching out to the general public as well as stakeholders in the public, private, non-profit, and academic sectors. Our purpose is to create a space for stakeholders where true partnering can occur in order to make school safety sustainable beyond Federal funding. Since our start in January, 2008, our projects have addressed the legislative, training, compliance, funding, and public awareness sides of school safety.

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