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Culture & Climate of Belonging

Culture & Climate of Belonging


  • Welcoming Events/Activities, Support for Acclimation, Proactive/Clear Communication with All Stakeholders

    • Each year we welcome back our students with a series of social emotional learning lessons. These lessons set the stage for a successful year for students and build on our high expectations for student behavior and school culture. Among these welcome week lessons, is a lesson specifically dedicated to school safety. It explains the basic expectations we have around safety at LT, along with a variety of safety measures that we have implemented in the past few years to help protect our students, staff, and community. For more information about this lesson and school safety at Lyons Township High School please click THIS LINK.

  • Focus on Classroom Climate (Norms, Expectations, Agreements, and Relationship-Building)

    • At the beginning of each semester, LTHS teachers focus on building classroom community through inclusion/belonging activities, creating classroom norms/commitments, etc. This Panorama Resource has been shared with staff as they work with students to design classroom commitments/expectations.  Additionally, we have shared the CASEL SEL Playbook  with staff in the event that they are looking for ideas for belonging/connection activities. The interactive CASEL website is also a great resource.  

  • Professional Learning and Expectation of Student Engagement & Support for all Staff

    • Through the goals and strategies of the District’s Strategic Plan and the associated Professional Learning, our goal is to increase student engagement.  Student engagement across 3 interconnected dimensions - Active Engagement (Academic Behaviors), Cognitive Engagement (Intellectual Behaviors), and Affective or Emotional Engagement (Social Emotional Behaviors) - supports improved student achievement, empowered learners, and a positive classroom and school climate. To enhance student engagement, staff are participating in professional learning that improves understanding and application of instructional and culture-building practices.  This professional learning takes many forms, but is centered in SEL and Culturally Responsive Standards and the application of high-leverage teaching practices, which are evidenced-based to improve engagement.  Simply put, when students are engaged, they experience more school success and in return that decreases negative behaviors and discipline referrals.

  • Restorative Practices

“A field within the social sciences that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals as well as social connections within communities.” International Institute of Restorative Practices

    • The LTHS Building Leadership Team has been engaged in learning about restorative practices.  The Building Leadership Team has attended professional learning sessions with internal and consultant experts, participated in collaborative book reads, and completed site visits.   The LTHS Student Services Division has joined the Building Leadership Team in participating in an ongoing series about Tier 1 Restorative Practices Implementation with a focus on building community.  

    • The LTHS Assistant Principals & Division Chair for Student Services are in the beginning stages of facilitating restorative circles/conversation in response to disciplinary incidents.  Restorative circles/conversations are being used for mediating relationships as well as to repair harm that is caused by incidents and inappropriate interactions.    

  • Use of Panorama and 5Essentials to Assess/Monitor Data (Staff, Student, Parent/Guardian) Regarding Perceptions of Culture & Climate and Determine Action Steps/Plans

    • Students and staff complete the Panorama Survey in the fall and spring each year.  Results are analyzed and district and building improvement efforts are identified.  Specifically, the following sections have been identified as District 204 Strategic Plan metrics: Student Sense of Belonging (Goal 2), Student Diversity & Inclusion (Goal 2), Certified Staff Sense of Belonging (Goal 3), and Non-Certified Staff Sense of Belonging (Goal 3). 

    • Students, staff, and parents/guardians complete the 5Essentials Survey annually.  Specifically, the following section has been identified as a District 204 Strategic Plan metric: Supportive Environment (Goal 2).  Additionally, Parent/Guardian Participation Rate (Goal 4) has also been identified as a metric.  

  • Class Charter Development & Yale RULER SEL Curriculum Through Physical Welfare Courses

    • One of the first lessons delivered for the year in Freshman Physical Education is the creation of our class charter. Gathering input from almost 1000 freshmen about how they aspire to feel when they come to school is an important part of laying a foundation for creating the school culture we want to have at Lyons Township High School. In order to create the charter, students reflect on how they want to feel while at school and what actions they can take to achieve that feeling and a sense of belonging each day while at LT. We compile responses from all students and look for the commonalities to develop our Class Charter. The Class Charter banner hangs outside of the South Campus Fieldhouse and serves as a reminder to all who pass it of our commitment to a safe school where everyone feels a sense of belonging. To find out more about this year‘s Freshman Class Charter please click this link.  

    • LTHS is in the fourth school year of implementing Yale University's RULER SEL curriculum within physical education. This curriculum is in place as a Tier 1 support for all students to help with their mental and emotional well-being during the difficult time of high school.  This curriculum connects with physical education to give a comprehensive approach to student wellness. Much of this curriculum is focused on people's moods and emotional regulation. This helps to support students when they are struggling mentally and helps to keep students regulated in difficult times. This approach allows us to be proactive as a school regarding safety and mental wellness of all students. To learn more about Yale University’s RULER SEL curriculum, and how it’s implemented at Lyons Township High School, please click this link.