International Safe and Supportive Learning Environments

AIR is committed to increasing the effectiveness of education globally at all levels through the provision of safe, supportive, and equitable learning environments. Our rigorous, state-of-the-art research and evaluation work provides important evidence for education policymakers and practitioners to use when answering crucial questions about program implementation, challenges, and solutions.

We provide technical assistance at national, subnational, and program levels to help education system stakeholders around the world address challenges and transform schools. AIR’s areas of expertise for this international work include conditions for teaching and learning, school safety, social and emotional learning, and multitiered systems of support.

Our Work

Improving Education Outcomes for Students Who Have Experienced Trauma and/or Adversity

Image of a diverse group of preschoolers

How can educators and educational systems support children’s resilience? Commissioned by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to explore this issue, AIR found three elements that are essential to ameliorate the effects of adversity and/or trauma and build resilience: strong social and emotional skills; stable and supportive adults in their lives; and safe, positive, and effective learning environments. The resulting working paper describes:

  • Effective strategies to support students who experience adversity and/or trauma and provides rich examples of resources, tools, programs for practitioners and decisionmakers on these strategies; 
  • Five case studies that provide a closer look into the implementation of the strategies; and
  • Opportunities to address gaps and the need for future research.


School-related Gender-based Violence Measurement Toolkit

Young South African students concentrating in class

In schools globally, gender-based violence represents an immediate threat to the safety, rights, and education of all students. This toolkit delivers practical guidance and resources for measuring the prevalence and extent of students’ experiences of school-related gender-based violence and provides methods for assessing key risk factors and drivers of such violence.


UNICEF: Child Friendly Schools Evaluation

The goals of UNICEF’s Child Friendly Schools program were to “ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling” and “eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015.” AIR evaluated this program to determine the progress toward guaranteeing universal access to school and adherence to and incorporation of known best practices about how to achieve learning outcomes for all students. UNICEF required technical support for the evaluation of the Child Friendly Schools program in six countries: the Philippines, Thailand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Guyana and South Africa.


Planning Tool for Developing a System of Thriving and Learning

Teacher and diverse group of students in school hallway

As a member of the SoLD Alliance, AIR has developed this planning tool to help education decisionmakers apply our best knowledge about how students learn and thrive to create equitable, effective, and transformative learning environments within their unique contexts. Decisionmakers can use the tool to think about and examine current and proposed programs, policies, structures, and practices. 


Trauma-Sensitive Schools Training Package

This training package from the AIR-operated  National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments offers school and district administrators and staff a framework and roadmap for adopting a trauma-sensitive approach school- or district wide. It includes a variety of resources for educating school staff about trauma and trauma-sensitive practices and for providing school leaders with a step-by-step process for implementing a universal, trauma-informed approach using package materials.