Safe and Supportive Learning Environments

2033 Goal

Support school and community efforts that address students’ physical, academic, social, and emotional needs.

Key Outcomes

Increase student achievement and engagement by reducing chronic student absenteeism to 15% (from 24%) and suspension and expulsion rates to 10% (from 14%).

The pandemic spotlighted the importance of addressing nonacademic barriers as a first step to prepare students for success. Federal pandemic-relief funding distributed to local districts, county governments, and public health agencies helped foster a community-wide response to the effects of poverty, low health care access, and other areas of instability.

School systems have used Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to expand non-academic student support services. These investments reflect a “whole-child, whole-school, whole-community” approach, an engagement model in which schools are a hub for expanding access to community resources.

Fundamental to the concept of school as community hub is the idea that students, educators, and parents feel safe when they enter the building. While school safety discussions often focus on physical well-being, the Georgia Partnership supports a three-dimensional view of safety that attends to the physical and emotional well-being of students and educators, fosters safer and more supportive learning environments, and enables stronger interpersonal relationships between all individuals participating in the life of the school.

Ensuring expanded access to wraparound supports delivered within schools and by referral to community partners.

Developing and implementing strategies that enable students and educators greater input and agency over the learning process.

  • The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and other state-level organizations provide training and technical assistance to district leaders on how to integrate positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), school climate initiatives, and expanded mental health services efforts into a comprehensive school safety and student support strategy.
  • State policymakers and advocacy groups develop a statewide communications campaign to inform school and district leaders about how the Georgia Mental Health Parity Act supports a unified school and community response to delivering physical and mental health services to students.
  • GaDOE provides guidance to districts on how to expand access to non-academic student support services by leveraging recurring federal funds.
  • State investments in PBIS and school safety initiatives
  • GaDOE prioritizes community school and whole-child approaches
  • Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network