In October 2010, the U.S. Department of Education awarded the California Department of Education (CDE) a Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) grant, making California one of eleven states to receive this funding. The four-year S3 grant targeted California’s comprehensive high schools (grades 9 through 12) with the highest needs in multiple areas of school climate (the learning conditions that comprise school environment). The grant supported the creation of a state School Climate Index (SCI), which provided a measure of school climate and safety needs. CDE awarded grants to the schools with the lowest SCI scores that successfully completed an application review process.
Following federal grant guidelines, 95 districts with the lowest achieving high schools were invited by the CDE to collect data that would be used to generate the SCI. A total of 58 districts accepted this invitation and participated in the 2010-11 collection of student, staff, and parent survey data through the California School Climate, Health, and Learning Survey (Cal-SCHLS) System developed by WestEd for the CDE. High schools with the highest school safety and climate needs received grant funds to address school safety and bullying, substance abuse, positive relationships, other learning supports, and student engagement.
Technical assistance was provided to help funded schools understand their survey results, identify strategies and best practices to identify pressing needs, and monitor progress in meeting those needs. Technical assistance was delivered via onsite and online workshops, Webinars, consultations with school climate experts, and a wide range of resources, tools, and best practices offered on the California S3 Website .