You can have the best books, teachers, and learning materials in the world, students aren't healthy then those
resources aren't fully used and the intended outcomes may not be fully
realized. To better facilitate students' learning and achieve a higher level of
academic performance, more variables needed to be considered. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model aims to expand and organize the many factors
that influence a student success and well- being. WSCC is arranged into ten
components, which are the focus of this video series. In this video we focus on
physical environment, or what we refer to in our picture as safe environment. First
we will identify the importance of a safe environment, and then we will look
at examples and results in practice.

A safe environment means focusing on the
physical school building, the land on which it is located,
and the areas surrounding it. A healthy school environment attends to physical
conditions during normal operation as well as renovation, and addresses factors
such as ventilation, pollution, lighting, noise, and temperature, as well as
protecting students from physical threats and injuries, such as traffic,
crime, hazardous materials, and pollution. Schools have chosen to define and focus
on a safe environment in a way that fits their needs. School personnel that we
spoke with shared their thoughts about the importance of a safe environment.
"We wanted to make sure we were not just building a–just a school or a learning
space–but also something that was going to stand the test of time, that was going
to be energy efficient, that was going to provide the tools and the available
spaces for learning for kids in the 21st century.

So when you put those pieces
together, you start to explore natural light and alternative energy sources,
outdoor classrooms, courtyards, and different methods that can, you know, not
just focus yourself on the four square walls of a classroom, but really open up
the idea of learning."
"The structures of the school–so things like school
buildings being adequately secured, so making sure you have double doorways,
making sure that there's only one point of access during the school day. That you
also have natural surveillance of the school building–so
all teachers and staff should have clear sight lines out their window so that
they can see things that are happening outside."
"So all of those things–making
sure that bathrooms are accessible: when are they clean? Are the kids tearing off
the soap dispensers? You can't put like regular soap out–there's certain
guidelines for what you can do. So then you have to have–okay then we need to
make sure we have hand sanitizer in the classroom. Things like that all involve
physical environment.

Temperature control… It's a full-time job."

Schools have focused on safe environment through various practices and activities.
Let's look at some examples of initiatives that schools have undertaken
to promote and address issues in a safe physical environment.
"There are a lot of steps that schools can take in school safety planning. They can develop a
school crisis team, that has administrator support and is trained in
best practices and crisis prevention and preparedness. We want to really make sure
that folks are collaborating with other crisis response partners so local police,
fire, and other district and community resources."
"Teachers need to put up–if
it's an extreme high-allergy classroom, they need a sign on the door.

You just
need to be aware of that. Those are things that you just have to think about.
You have to think about the routes and where kids are going: the preschoolers
need to go out, hopefully where they're by themselves, but there's also a
stairwell where the preschoolers go out that leads from the upper floor. So the
big people are coming down and how do you teach them and train the kids to
make lines so the little people can go out one way.

It's room enough for
everybody to get out. There are ways that you have to practice drills and practice
them at different times of the day." "And when you make the schools healthier environments–one of the benefits of rebuilding schools that are in some
cases over 100 years old–you're able to correct any of the past wrongs of things
that were built years ago that were legal then
that may be illegal now, and so forth. So we could make sure that the air quality
is better, that there's better atmospheres for the students. And all
that plays into them being able to be more available to learn on a daily basis."
The safe environment initiatives that schools undertake have been positive, not
only for student learning, but have shown positive results that extend to the
whole school, whole community, and whole child.
"When we designed the buildings,
really designing them in an energy-efficient, healthy
state-of-the-art way, but also when it's really focused on children and
children's ability learn was a real goal in the process and I think we were able
to achieve that." "Wel,l when schools incorporate school
safety planning and procedures we see a really positive impact on school climate,
and students' and teachers' psychological well-being.

More specifically, we see increased senses of safety across students and
staff, an increased sense of belonging in the school, and higher levels of
resilience–both for students and staff."
Learning and health are critical
influences to student success and well-being. If students aren't healthy,
they can struggle to be successful learners and having healthy behaviors is
an important goal for learning. Safe physical environment is identified as
one of the interconnected components to student success and well being. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model provides a comprehensive framework to
understand the many important and interconnected influences on student
success and well-being, enabling school capacity to take a wide lens to identify
needs, plan efforts, and evaluate outcomes to facilitate student academic, social
emotional behavioral, and physical success.

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