Pennsylvania School Climate Coalition


The PaSCC is a network of stakeholders who wish to communicate and collaborate on improving school climate and dismantling the school-to-prison-pipeline in their communities and throughout Pennsylvania. Originally created by the Education Law Center and the Juvenile Law Center, teachers, parents, students, administrators, academics, lawyers, community organizers, and other stakeholders make up the PaSCC. You can join by clicking here.

What does PaSCC do?

PaSCC is an on-line list serve and forum for sharing information and discussing school climate-related issues. Members are encouraged to use the forum to announce school climate events, highlight relevant state and local policy opportunities, seek advice on how to confront a school climate related problem, or to advocate for others to join a particular campaign. Members can also participate in quarterly PaSCC conference calls and in-person meetings to discuss particular issues.

What is “School Climate?”

School climate refers to the overall environment within a school. PaSCC works to ensure that schools have a positive school climate as opposed to a negative one characterized by an over-reliance on exclusionary policies (expulsions, suspensions, transfers, use of police as school disciplinarians, etc.). Ways to create a positive school climate include building strong, trusting relationships between students and staff, and among students; implementing School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports and restorative practices, and other measures to promote a positive and safe environment within a school.

Of course, numerous forces have great impact on school climate. Thus, more broadly, school climate also refers to the use (or misuse) of police in schools, the inadequate and inequitable distribution of resources among and within school districts, the inequitable distribution of effective teachers, the disparate harmful effects on vulnerable student populations, the increasing resegregation of public schools, and more.

Why now?

Over the past two decades, federal, state, and local polices have contributed to a well-documented growth in what has been termed the “school-to-prison pipeline” in many communities. This increase has been disproportionately borne by students of color. Pennsylvania is among the top 10 worst states in terms of discipline disparities between white students and black and Latino students. The dropout rate is dramatically high for students who receive exclusionary discipline and, especially, for students who have received a school-based arrest. All this, despite evidence which shows schools that are over-reliant on exclusionary discipline and police intervention do not create safer learning environments.

How can I get involved?

Sign up and join! As a PaSCC member of the email list serve, you will start to receive periodic emails from other members and invitations to participate in PaSCC calls and / or meetings. You can also post your own comments and questions and you are also strongly encouraged to use the list serve to connect with other members. Finally, spread the word! The more widespread PaSCC membership reaches, the greater the positive impact can be for students across Pennsylvania.