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Position Statement on Safe and Humane Schools: Places of Community

March 19, 2015

Introduction

Students’ engagement in school communities can have profound effects on their future success and well-being. Sense of community in schools may come from students, parents, and staff feeling welcome, having an influence, and sharing emotional connections. Whitlock (2006) found associations between students’ sense of school connectedness and increased involvement in meaningful roles at school, academic engagement, and school safety. These outcomes have important implications for addressing problems such as alienation, disengagement, and dropout. Although a growing body of research shows that school climate predicts healthy youth development and school success, there is a glaring disconnect between these findings and common practice (Cohen, McCabe, Michelli, & Pickeral, 2009).

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