Center for Urban Education

Strategy 4. Cultivate Positive Relationships Among Students and School Staff

The relationships between students and staff in a school are one of the defining aspects of school climate and one that may have particular importance during a time of disruption to schooling. In order to foster positive student-staff relationships, schools must proactively address any barriers that may impede such relationships, including prejudging students and families based on past experiences, being overwhelmed by testing and other procedures, enduring student or staff traumatic experiences, and mistrust. Below are effective strategies for building positive student-staff relationships.

  • Ask open-ended questions to learn about the needs of the students and staff.
  • Organize professional development opportunities related to recognizing stereotypes and biases and evidence-based strategies to support all students and staff in the academic setting.
  • Start rapport-building strategies among students and staff early in the year.
  • Greet students at the start of the school day and implement social-emotional learning and community building activities face-to-face or virtually. 
  • Create virtual platforms for students to informally check in with school staff.

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