Connectedness

Involves levels of communication and caring that create feelings of being valued, respected and wanted. School connectedness is the belief of students that adults and peers in the school care about their learning and about them as individuals, and it’s a very important protective factor.

Research shows that youth who feel connected to their school are less likely to engage in risky behaviours like smoking, drinking, drug use, gang involvement, and the like. They are also more likely to have better academic achievement, school attendance, and to stay in school longer than those who don’t feel connected.

What does this all mean? Simply put, it’s important to enhance protective factors that actually help children and youth avoid behaviours that put them at risk in the first place.

Content adapted from www.cdc.gov

Climate

Is the quality and character of school life with a focus on the quality of the relationships within the school community – between and among students and adults. A positive school climate is one necessary component of creating an effective, successful and sustainable school.

One of the most important components of school climate is relationships. This refers to how connected people feel to each other within the school, as well as how connected the school is to the community.

Classroom climate is very important; it has a major effect on student behaviour. A school may appear open, positive and caring but the tone that is set inside the classroom has a huge impact on the students. Children and youth often look to connect with one caring and responsible adult at school, and in many cases that person is their teacher. The climate teachers create inside their classroom will have a great impact on whether that student feels connected to their school.

For students who are considered to be high-risk, being in a classroom climate that includes emotional support is essential. Teachers play a big role in providing emotional support to their students, on top of the instructional support they already provide.

Culture

Can really be described as “the way we do things”. It is the shared beliefs, values and priorities of people within a school community – teachers, parents, students, school administrators, community partners and beyond. It’s not about religion, race or socio-economic status.

There is no one standard for what a school culture should look or feel like. It encompasses whatever “normal” is for that particular school. There may be a culture of teacher innovation, or one of high parent involvement. Culture within a school is unique.

School culture can be changed, but dramatic changes typically take three to five years. Improving the culture of a school requires buy-in from those within a school community, and needs to be led by at least one committed stakeholder. A change in beliefs, attitudes and values is required.

To be truly successful, you need to involve as many members of your school community as possible – parents, students, staff, community, etc. – in all steps of your culture change. This will help ensure your new school culture is accepted and adopted by those in your school community.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or of hurting yourself or others, please reach out immediately for help. Call 9-1-1 (or your local police or authority, if you do not have 9-1-1) or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.

If you are being bullied, feeling alone or just need to talk to someone who will listen, please reach out to a trained volunteer or professional:



Resources for Parents

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Thank you for stopping by to check out the ERASE Bullying online reporting tool. This tool is accessible through computers and smart phones, and will allow students, parents or other witnesses to report bullying or other threatening behaviour, anytime and anywhere.

The online reporting tool has just been developed and is in the final stages of testing.

If you need help, please reach out to someone you trust, like a parent, friend or teacher. Or, you can reach out to someone who doesn’t know you for support. There is a list of youth-oriented support lines and websites on this site just for you.

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