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The Maine Approach

ELEMENT 3 - Healthy Climate

TO ENHANCE SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY CLIMATE THROUGH ACTIVITIES TO BREAK THE "NO TALK" RULE ABOUT ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, AND OTHER DRUG USE, ABUSE AND DEPENDENCY BY PROMOTING A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR ALL STUDENTS, STAFF, AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS.

School climate may be defined as the qualities of a school (its people, their space, their relationships and how they work and play while they are there). The term "climate" refers to the total environment, physical and psychological, to which people respond. Schools with a positive climate are places where people care, respect, and trust one another and where the school (as an institution) cares, respects, and trusts people. In such schools, people feel a sense of pride and ownership which comes from each individual's role in making the whole school a better place.

While education is being provided and ATOD policy and procedures are functioning, the "no talk" rule about ATOD use, abuse and dependency begins to lift. Faculty, staff, and students believe and act on the feeling that "It is safe to ask for help." around ATOD issues. Change in school climate is demonstrated by increased openness, trust, and willingness to promote alcohol, tobacco and other drug-free alternatives and ongoing support for students and adults. Meeting the standards of this element requires a tremendous commitment on the part of administrators in translating their knowledge, training, and words into action. One role of the school and community team is to work with school personnel in monitoring, promoting, and evaluating the climate.


PRESENT INDICATORS FOR STANDARDS OF BEST PRACTICE:

(Rating your understanding from 1 to a high of 5 may help you in your planning and evaluation.)

_____ Students participate in developing and supporting their learning environment.
_____ Student representation is an integral part of faculty meetings.
_____ Student work is prominently displayed throughout the school.
_____ Students frequently and openly share personal challenges and successes with school staff.
_____ Opportunities are provided to all students to do peer tutoring according to their unique talents.
_____ Students actively participate in the development of school and classroom rules, expectations and consequences.
_____ Students are meaningfully involved with their own governance through such programs as peer mediation, student government, etc.

A healthy learning environment is evidenced by:

_____ A building that is neat, clean and well maintained.
_____ School symbols being highly visible on students' personal property.
_____ Four to five positive behavioral expectations being prominently posted in the building in numerous places.
_____ Happy sounds (laughter, well modulated voices, music etc.).
_____ Parent and community volunteers who are visible throughout the school.
_____ Uniformed police officers being welcomed as friends.
_____ Lots of smiles and eye contact.
_____ The absence of categorical labeling of students.
_____ Staff and students that are well informed about referral processes.
_____ Staff and students that are well aware of all policies and procedures which direct relate to them.
_____ High attendance and involvement with school traditions and rituals such as Project Graduation.
_____ The presence of procedures to assist individuals in the workplace with referrals t substance abuse and emotional health services.

Opportunities for meaningful involvement are evidenced by:

_____ High attendance at all school functions.
_____ Community agencies and services which are encouraged to use school facilities.
_____ Teachers regularly attending parent/teacher activities.
_____ Teachers willingly participating in healthy chemical free alternative activities.

All school personnel model healthy attitudes and lifestyles as evidenced by:

_____ Non judgmental behavior toward peers and students.
_____ Consistency between what they teach and how they behave.
_____ Their demonstration of appropriate professional and personal boundaries.
_____ Their consistent honoring of student's feelings, opinions and needs.

Revised March 1995.


Maine Office of Substance Abuse
#11 State House Station
A.M.H.I. Complex, Marquardt Building
Augusta, ME 04333-0011

Main Office: 207-287-2595
Information and Resource Center: 1-800-499-0027 (In-State Only)or 207-287-8900
TTY : 1-800-606-0215

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