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  • Greg Smith

How Can We Promote a Positive School Environment?

Julio Avael III

Over the years, experts have identified several key methods for schools to promote mental wellness throughout their student body. A clear way to do so is to create a positive school environment, as this connects students to their surroundings and shows them that there are many ways to protect their mental wellbeing. Julio Avael realizes that some schools may have difficulties identifying the key factors that contribute to positive school environments and, here, he includes a few of the most cited ways to do so.

Build Rapport with Students

Julio Avael III speaks to the integral role that building relationships with students plays in promoting a positive school environment. Teachers, staff, and administrators should work towards creating a culture where students recognize the important role that they play in the greater school community. Julio maintains that small ways to work towards rapport building are just as important as larger displays. Simple acts such as greeting students every day, asking how they are, and remaining empathic as they discuss any of their issues can go a long way towards helping them feel supported. Once rapports are established, you will find that you do not need to guess what students need to feel like their mental health is supported in their environment —they will tell you!

Set Strong Goals

As members of the school community, teachers, staff, and admins should naturally be aware of some of the obstacles to positive mental wellness students may have at school. Setting goals helps contextualize efforts to promote positive school environments and support the health of students. For example, a goal set by a school community can be to establish partnerships with entities that can provide resources to protect students’ mental health. Julio Avael maintains that the best goals are created with data and the reality of students in mind. Surveys or classroom evaluations can be efficient tools for recognizing what metrics to track and identify the various needs of students.

Celebrate Personal Successes

Students can start to feel dips in their own mental wellness when they do not feel as though their efforts are not appreciated or connected to their school environment. Celebrating personal successes and good behavior is a great way to support students’ mental health because it shows them that they are cared for and making strides towards their goals. For best results, Julio Avael III recommends choosing specific compliments over more vague platitudes. For example, a student who consistently hands in their assignments can feel even more motivated if they receive a compliment pertaining to their diligence and preparedness.

Create Consistent Standards

Consistency is key for maintaining school communities, especially when it comes to upholding students’ mental wellness. One important method for ensuring that school communities are working towards the betterment of their student bodies is to set consistent standards for discipline. If students do not feel as though rules are consistently enforced, it can create a situation where students are inconsistently punished. This can have a notable impact on students’ mental health, especially if they feel as though there is bias involved in the process. Consistent standards are also crucial for handling obstacles such as mental health crises. A student should have a support network readily available within their school, and this help should be consistently provided to all students should they need it.

Be The Change

Modelling positive behaviors is one of the key factors to creating a great school environment. We can consider procedures, codes of conduct, and school community goals ad nauseum, but the school’s support systems only matter as much as teachers, staff, and admins plan to uphold them. In the present, teachers have made all types of efforts to contribute to a positive environment for students’ mental health. For example, teachers of various grades have established in-classroom methods for self-regulating such as “cooldown corners”. These methods show students that, while their behavior may be disruptive, they are still supported and can get through the situation punishment-free if they are able to find calm. Julio Avael III speaks to how there are millions of ways that we can be the change that we would like to see in our school communities, and it starts with a commitment to make and effort day by day.

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