Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools

Successful School Guideline #6 [Respectful]

The school community is a place where relationships among and between staff and students are mutually respectful, supportive, ethical and civil.


Suggested Actions that address the Guideline:

  • Develop mutually respectful, supportive, ethical and civil relationships among and between staff and students
    • Provide opportunities for students and staff to dialogue on a regular basis about classroom experiences. Solicit student input when classroom norms are developed. Encourage ongoing, open communication from all students.
    • School administration openly promotes staff members’ to be role models of respectful, supportive, ethical, and civil relationships in all interactions, and ensures that every student has at least one adult in school with whom she or he may have honest dialogue.
  • Work to build social norms in the school that support responsible and positive peer relationships; there is an articulate positive code of student conduct
    • Provide opportunities for all students to have input on development or modification of core ethical values.
    • Ensure students are educated about the needs and strengths of subgroups in the school, particularly as relate to special education classifications.
  • Align discipline procedures and practices with the goals of supporting students in their learning and being respectful of all individuals. (Code of Conduct based on Core Values)
    • Review discipline procedures and records to determine if actions are being applied equally amongst all students, paying particular attention to all racial, ethnic, religious, and “ability” groups. The review of procedures should also answer the question whether or not all groups have equal access to reporting of incidents.
  • Encourage students and staff to model culturally responsive and ethical behavior based on accepted core values.
    • Identify various cultures, ethnicities, or religions, represented in the school community (students and staff). Invite members of these groups to share their customs and beliefs in various forums, such as a multi-cultural or multi-ethnic lunch for students and staff (or breakfast or dinner to include parents).
    • Devote a bulletin board to highlighting the different cultures represented in the school.
  • Help students and staff build the capacity to identify, understand, and respect the unique beliefs, values, customs, languages, and traditions of all members of the school community
    • In concert with reviewing school climate assessment data, the SST identifies the groups of students and staff who are under-represented, have minority status, or less “power” or perceived “power” (these may be based on racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, disability, or other group memberships) and engages in discussion about the experiences of these groups in the school setting. Specific questions might include: 1) Do members of these groups have friendships/relationships with members of other groups; 2) Are members of these groups targeted disproportionately by teasing or bullying behavior? 3) Are members of these groups largely ignored? 4) Do students from all groups have at least one adult with whom they can speak with in a trusting way?
  • Develop curriculum and instruction practice to promote curiosity about, inquiry into, and celebration of diverse cultures.
    • Link discussions in Social Studies classes on experiences of various cultures to those of actual students attending school.
    • Pair students of different cultures to work on classroom projects together, focusing on learning about the partner’s culture and then share in the whole class.
  • Handle behavioral issues with dignity, providing a learning opportunity for students as well as an opportunity for reconciliation when appropriate.
    • Address discipline from a skill-building standpoint where needed skills are identified and then taught, reinforced, and practiced in a positive way.
    • Ensure there are school-wide discussions of respect, how to show respect, what it means to be respectful, challenges in being respectful to all subgroups in the


  • Use respect as a theme in language arts at grade-appropriate levels
  • Focus on respect as communicated in visual and performing arts, in terns

of both the product and the process of creating and reviewing art.