AIR Awarded New Contract to Operate a National Center for Improving Conditions for Learning from Kindergarten through Post-Secondary Education

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS), in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), have selected the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to operate the National Center on Safe, Supportive Learning Environments. This new center will ensure that state education agencies, local education agencies, schools, and colleges and universities across the country have access to training, technical assistance, and resources to improve conditions for learning that contribute to academic success and career readiness.

Our nation’s schools—from early childhood programs to colleges and universities—face safety and security issues. In response, increasing amounts of federal support are being given to states to improve the conditions that work against impact learning. Other statewide efforts not receiving federal support also need assistance in facing these challenges. The new center will provide K-16 educational institutions cost-effective content- rich materials and resources; technical support in the development, planning and administration of school- climate and needs- assessment surveys; training and technical support in implementing program- intervention strategies; training in preventive strategies to address risk factors that affect school and campus environments; and resources and training materials for other groups of constituents.

AIR Vice President Dr. David Osher, a national expert on conditions for learning, is the principal investigator for the Center; Sandra (Keenan) Williamson, a nationally recognized expert in developing district-wide behavioral support programs that benefit all children, as well as the community-based collaboration of multiple service providers, is the project director. AIR partners in this initiative include: Child Trends; the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning; the Silver Gate Group; Vision Training Associates; and EMT Associates.

Dr. Osher commented, “The nation’s learning environments educate and care for our nation’s youth from ages five though their twenties. With a changing world and challenging economic times, we need to leverage partnerships among federal agencies, among the partnering TA providers, and between educational institutions and other community organizations to improve the climate of all learning environments and related issues like bullying and violence prevention.”

About AIR
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in education, health, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit