Picture A positive social and emotional school climate is conducive to effective teaching and learning. The school climate can affect student engagement in school activities, relationships with other students, staff, family and community.  A school environment that is characterized by the absence of discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying can improve student health, encourage positive emotional growth and improve academic performance.

Students are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors and have better academic achievement when they feel connected to school.  School connectedness is particularly important for students that might be at increased risk of feeling alienated or isolated from others, including those with disabilities, those who are homeless or students that identify as LBGTQ.  Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender students sometimes have fewer support resources both at home and in school to draw upon and often experience lower peer support than heterosexual students.

Strong and inclusive school environments include health curricula that reflect the realities of a diverse student body, promotion and encouragement of student voice and development of school and district policies and practices that ensure that everyone feels safe, supported and protected.