Creating Welcoming, Caring, Respectful and Safe Learning Environments: A Process Guide for School Leaders

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Research on school improvement and brain development, shows a direct correlation between a positive school culture and academic achievement. Evidence also shows that welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments result in increased attendance and reduced rates of bullying and early school leaving.

To improve outcomes for students, in addition to ensuring quality teaching and leadership, we must be intentional about creating welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments.

Toolkit: Supporting Social Emotional Learning

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There are many approaches schools can take to create more welcoming, safe, caring and respectful
learning environments. The documents in this toolkit can help educators, parents and other caregivers to identify the best literature, events, school materials and school-based programs to help children and youth cultivate social emotional skills and better understand life experiences.

These resources were created in partnership with WITS Programs.

Toolkit: Understanding Alberta’s School Act

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Revisions to the School Act as part of Bill 10 (in force June 1, 2015) set out responsibilities for all partners in the education system, including students, parents and school boards. All partners have a responsibility to do their part to ensure welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments.

To help all partners understand and implement these responsibilities, the Society for Safe and Caring Schools and Communities partnered with ASBA to develop a toolkit that includes support for all stakeholders.

The Government of Alberta provided funding for this initiative.

UPDATE: Safe and Caring is continually accepting feedback on these resources from educators, administrators and policy makers. Please feel free to forward comments or requests for future resources. Posted are the most recent and up-to-date versions of these documents.

Toolkit: Creating Safe Spaces Resources

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Safe Spaces is a joint initiative of the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) and the Society for Safe and Caring Schools & Communities. The Safe Spaces initiative focuses on three critical areas necessary to address discrimination and prejudice in schools: respecting human rights, respecting individuals and taking personal responsibility.

Working with Bystanders

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Recognizing the crucial role of bystanders in bullying is essential. Those who witness bullying and harassment have the most power to stop it. On the other hand, students who witness bullying and do nothing to stop it become desensitized to the harm that it causes and the cycle of bullying and harassment continues. It is therefore essential to create a … Read More

Supporting Students Who Experience Bullying

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Research shows that adult intervention is the single most effective way to stop bullying behaviour. Adult visibility within the school has also shown to be effective. Ensure that school staff members are visible in and around the school, particularly during unstructured times such as before class, breaks and over the lunch hour. Encourage students to report bullying and harassment and … Read More

What Can I Do If I Bully Others?

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If you are always picking on other students, you have a problem. It may be hard to admit you have a problem, but we all have to own up to how we treat other people. It’s not right to want to make others feel badly. If bullying behaviour makes you feel powerful, you must realize that no one really likes … Read More

Talking With Parents About Bullying

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Ensure the school’s code of conduct addresses bullying behaviour directly and clearly describes how the school will respond. Consider identifying a key person at the school for parents to contact when bullying behaviour is an issue. Speak to the parents of the student who has been bullied and the student who is engaging in bullying behaviour separately. Use clear and … Read More

What Can I Do If I See Someone Being Bullied?

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Those who witness bullying have the power to stop it. If you see someone being bullied, show that you CARE. Care about others Ask an adult for help Reach out End it Tips: If you see someone being bullied, offer to help. Invite him or her to hang out with you and your friends (people who bully often target someone … Read More

What Can I Do If I Am Bullied?

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If you are bullied, recognize that it is not your fault, and know that you have the right to be safe. To be safe, think SAFE: Stand up for your self Ask for help Figure out your choices End it calmly. Tips: If you are bullied, stand proud and make eye contact. Use a firm voice and tell the person … Read More