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 School Climate

​​The National School Climate Center defines school climate as “the quality and character of school life” that is based on the “patterns of students’, parents’, and school personnel’s experiences of school life.”[1] Research has found that schools with positive school climates tend to have better test scores and graduation rates; in contrast, schools with negative school climates as a result of unsafe or hostile environments tend to have lower academic performance.[2]

 A sustainable, positive school climate supports people feeling socially​, emotionally and physically safe. In a positive school climate people are engaged and respected.  By contrast, disruptive and aggressive behavior such as threats, bullying, teasing and harassment creates a hostile school environment that interferes with academic performance.  A hostile school environment fosters increased absenteeism and truancy because students feel unsafe at school.  If a child is not physically and mentally in attendance, learning cannot take place.

 [1] National School Climate Center. (2014). School Climate. Retrieved from
[2] Thapa, Amrit, Jonathan Cohen, Shawn Guffey, and Ann Higgins-D’Alessandro. 2013. “A Review of School Climate Research.” Review of Educational Research 83(3): 357-385.


Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety and support improved academic outcomes. Learn more​...

Improving School Climate

Students learn best when they are in a school in which they feel safe, supported, connected, and accepted. Research shows that when schools and districts focus on improving school climate, students are more likely to engage in the curriculum, develop positive relationships, demonstrate positive behaviors, and progress academically. Learn more​​...

The School Climate Star Rating is a diagnostic tool within the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) to determine whether a school is on the right path to school improvement. Learn more​...

Georgia Student Health Survey

The Georgia Student Health Survey (GSHS) is an anonymous, statewide survey instrument that measures school climate perceptions and identifies safety and health issues that have a negative impact on student achievement and school climate. ​Learn more​...

View GSHS results here​.
​Student absenteeism negatively affects student academic achievment. The Student Attendance webpage provides resources for improving student attendance. Learn more...​

The Student Discipline webpage provides student discipline data and resources for schools and school districts to report student discipline data accurately and consistently. Learn more​​...​

The purpose of the Bullying Prevention Toolkit is to provide information to aid efforts to prevent and respond to bullying​. Learn more...


 Contact Information


Garry McGiboney, Ph.D.
Deputy Superintendent 
Office of School Safety and Climate 
Phone: (404) 656-5669 ​

Cheryl Benefield
Program Manager
Safe and Supportive Schools
Phone: (404) 651-7179
Jeff Hodges
Program Specialist
Safe and Supportive Schools
Phone: (404) 463-7891​​

Jason W. Byars 
Program Manager
Phone: (404) 657-9953

Find us on Twitter @GaDOESafeSchool​​