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Safe and Healthy School Environments

A school’s environment is what links the host of activities that occur on a daily basis on campus. Of course, constructive social relationships and outlooks about school are central to the environment. But just as important are safe and well-maintained buildings and surroundings. A safe, hygienic, and well-maintained school with a positive psycho-social culture can nurture a school’s climate which in turn will boost student and staff health as well as students’ educational achievements.

However, creating a healthy school environment requires the involvement of nearly everyone—from the students to the teachers to the custodial staff to the administrators, nutrition workers, and so on. A plan for establishing a clean and safe environment for teaching and learning is can be as simple as this:

  1. Identify problems

  2. Analyze them

  3. Make the necessary changes.

But in my experience, as school leaders find successful solutions to one set of problems, often, a new set will arise. Therefore, we must be able to evolve and adapt to the changing circumstances without losing sight of our ultimate mission—educating students.

Most immediately, principals should conduct a site assessment of the physical campus and social environment to determine the school’s needs. Next, together with the staff, they should establish a set of measurable goals and objectives and design activities around improving our school’s physical and social environment. A common practice is to form a school environmental health and safety team which may include law enforcement officials, community and business leaders, teachers, the PTA, and so forth.

Site administrators should also directly support teachers as they develop activities for students that emphasize the importance of an overall healthy school environment. Moreover, schools should work with and directly consult families and community stakeholders who have an interest in creating and maintaining a safe and strong school environment. This will most likely require vigilant advocacy for more resources so the school may, in time, recondition standing structures and other features of the campus if required.

How do you establish the necessary systems to provide students and staff with clean and safe environments for teaching and learning? Send me a message and let me know...

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