LCFF Priority 6

School Climate

Priority Description

This LCFF priority addresses student suspension rates, expulsion rates, and other local measures, including surveys of students, parents, and teachers on the sense of safety and school connectedness.

Suspension data speaks to the notion of belonging to a community. Local data show the three communities that co-wrote this blueprint are disproportionately impacted by discipline and behavior policies across our school systems. It is important to reframe our discipline policies with an equity lens on belonging.

Statement of Model Practices

African American, Native American, and Latinx students benefit from a positive school climate that meets their cognitive, social, emotional, and physical needs. Intentionally focusing on building trusting, inclusive, and respectful relationships builds a sense of safety and connectedness. Creating Equity Safety Plans that include strengths-based language, common discipline expectations, and alternatives to suspension and expulsions outlines the LEAs commitment to this essential work.

Issues of Equity

Our BIPOC students are disproportionately affected by suspension and expulsion rates across our educational systems. This disenfranchisement occurs at alarming rates and begins at very young ages. This has a direct impact on other categories related to student achievement. This also has long-term implications for a student’s identity formation and ability to see themself as a successful young person.

Addressing Student Suspension and Expulsion Rates

School leaders and LEA administrators understand that focusing on relationships, respect, and school connectedness creates community and builds a sense of safety on campus.

  • Actively monitor discipline referrals and establish goals that aim to avoid the removal of students from the learning space before suspension or referral
    • Cultivate a restorative culture and discipline practices
    • Hold regular trauma-informed healing circles
  • Prioritize strengthening students’ and families’ connection to school through:
    • Professional learning for school staff members on cultural proficiency, cultural identity, bias, and empathy
    • Active learning about the community you serve; partner with community groups to understand contributions from populations
    • Hold collaborative discussions with staff members on issues of race relations and effective instructional practices for historically marginalized students
  • Create an equity-based safety plan that includes restorative circles and a focus on building and strengthening relationships among community organizations such as law enforcement agencies and school community members
    • Provide social services on the school grounds as part of wraparound services available to better serve students and their families
  • Create an equity-based school climate plan, including goals, monitoring, support, and celebrations
  • Construct academic environments that nurture scholarly behavior (taught explicitly in a positive way and ensuring excellent teaching is the norm)
  • Invest in mentoring programs
  • Provide motivational assemblies for students
  • Use strengths-based language to understand and describe students and families; interrupt and reframe deficit language practices
  • Create safe, welcoming spaces for families and community members to share their stories and develop solutions to improve student outcomes


Actively monitor discipline referrals and establish goals that aim to avoid the removal of students from the learning space before suspension or referral. While this suggestion might seem like common practice, we might ask:

  • Does monitoring discipline mean more than keeping track of referrals? What are the trends and patterns across locations and times of day?
  • Are our goals more than numbers? Are goals driven by having fewer behavioral referrals or higher levels of joy and belonging?
  • Is every staff member knowledgeable and using multiple discipline interventions rather than removing students from learning spaces?
  • What spaces are we creating to understand the reasons for the behavior? Do we have the ability to support therapeutic or mental health services?
  • How are we leveraging community resources for mentorship opportunities for students?

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