Creating Safe, Equitable, Engaging Schools: A Comprehensive, Evidence-Based Approach to Supporting Students

Image of book coverSafe and supportive school communities foster students’ social, emotional, and academic needs. Educators want actionable strategies and practices to ensure that all students can access equitable learning environments. Creating Safe, Equitable, Engaging Schools helps school leaders make sense of the various evidence-based resources and frameworks designed to support the whole child. Addressing critical topics like restorative practices, cultural responsiveness, social and emotional learning, and family engagement, this volume offers insights on how leaders can leverage school-based teams to assess student needs and select appropriate interventions.

By taking a continuous improvement approach, Creating Safe, Equitable, Engaging Schools integrates the collective wisdom of over 30 AIR experts, as well as research and field leaders. This volume includes chapters (listed below, with links to related tools from each) to help educators and leaders.

  • build the capacity of their staff to lead and implement their work with passion, enthusiasm, and efficiency;
  • engage the strengths of all school stakeholders;
  • implement strong foundational supports which address diverse student and educator needs; and
  • monitor implementation efforts using evidence from improvement science.

Part I. Build Capacity

Chapter 1: Building Readiness and Capacity
Chapter 2: Leading, Coordinating, and Managing for Equity with Excellence
Chapter 3: Guiding and Planning Improvement for Equity with Excellence
Chapter 4: Selecting the Right Programs, Strategies, and Approaches
Chapter 5: Funding a Comprehensive Community Approach

Part II. Engage

Chapter 6: The Centrality of Cultural Competence and Responsiveness
Chapter 7: Engaging Students in Creating Safe, Equitable, and Excellent Schools
Chapter 8: Partnering with Families
Chapter 9: Partnering with Communities
Chapter 10: Out-of-School-Time Programs

Part III. Act

Chapter 11: Building a Schoolwide Foundation for Social-Emotional and Academic Support
Chapter 12: Building and Restoring School Communities
Chapter 13: Creating Respectful and Inclusive Schools
Chapter 14: Multitiered Systems of Support
Chapter 15: Selective Strategies
Chapter 16: Indicated Strategies
Chapter 17: Social and Emotional Learning Matters
Chapter 18: Educators Matter
Chapter 19: Academic Interventions—Use with Care

Part IV. Improve

Chapter 20: Continuous Improvement


Tools Referenced in Creating Safe, Equitable, Engaging Schools, by Chapter

Part I. Build Capacity

Chapter 1: Building Readiness and Capacity
David Osher

Chapter 2: Leading, Coordinating, and Managing for Equity with Excellence
Catherine Barbour, Jason LaTurner, and David Osher

Chapter 3: Guiding and Planning Improvement for Equity with Excellence
Catherine Barbour, Jason LaTurner, and David Osher

Chapter 4: Selecting the Right Programs, Strategies, and Approaches
David Osher and Allison Dymnicki

Chapter 5: Funding a Comprehensive Community Approach
Frank Rider, Elizabeth V. Freeman, Aaron R. Butler, Sara Wraight, and David Osher

Part II. Engage

Chapter 6: The Centrality of Cultural Competence and Responsiveness
Karen Francis and David Osher

Chapter 7: Engaging Students in Creating Safe, Equitable, and Excellent Schools
Robert V. Mayo and David Osher

  • Strengthening Communities Through Youth Participation - A report describing the findings from the Assets Coming Together (ACT) for Youth program, a positive youth development initiative that focuses on helping change community structure and culture to support youth
  • Youth Participatory Evaluation - A website providing information about Youth Participatory Evaluation, an approach that promotes youth evaluation of programs, organizations, and the systems that serve them
  • Community Programs to Promote Youth Development - A journal article reviewing Community Programs to Promote Youth Development (Jacquelynne S. Eccles and Jennifer Appleton Gootman, eds., Landover, MD: National Academies Press, 2002), a book by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine

Chapter 8: Partnering with Families
Lacy Wood, Trina Osher, and David Osher

Chapter 9: Partnering with Communities
Vanessa Coleman and David Osher

Chapter 10: Out-of-School-Time Programs
Deborah Moroney, Jessica Newman, and David Osher

Part III. Act

Chapter 11: Building a Schoolwide Foundation for Social-Emotional and Academic Support
Sandra Williamson and David Osher

Chapter 12: Building and Restoring School Communities
Greta Colombi, Robert V. Mayo, Manolya Tanyu, David Osher, and Amy Mart

Chapter 13: Creating Respectful and Inclusive Schools
Jeffrey M. Poirier, Ilene Berman, Kathleen Guarino, Fausto Alejandro López, and David Osher

Chapter 14: Multitiered Systems of Support
Stephanie Jackson, Juliette Berg, Sandra Williamson, and David Osher

Chapter 15: Selective Strategies
Allison Dymnicki, Kimberly Kendziora, Sandra Williamson, and David Osher

Chapter 16: Indicated Strategies
Allison Gruner Gandhi, Kimberly Kendziora, and David Osher

Chapter 17: Social and Emotional Learning Matters
Jessica Newman, Allison Dymnicki, Edward Fergus, Roger P. Weissberg, and David Osher

Chapter 18: Educators Matter
Nick Yoder, Lynn Holdheide, and David Osher

Chapter 19: Academic Interventions—Use with Care
Terry Salinger and David Osher

  • Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) - A conceptual framework that assists with the effective implementation of new programs by providing dimensions for assessing and guiding the implementation process

Part IV. Improve

Chapter 20: Continuous Improvement
Aaron R. Butler, Jason Katz, Jessica Johnson, David Osher, Jill Pentimonti, and Sam Neiman