Three children sitting at a table and smiling for the camera while hugging each other.

Our Mission

Office of School Climate and Culture (OSCC) supports positive, equitable learning environments in which all students can experience belonging, build strong relationships, and fully engage with academic and social-emotional learning.

Goals and Guardrails

The Office of School Climate & Culture works toward the Board of Education’s 2025 Goals by helping schools achieve:

  • Guardrail 1: Every school will be a safe, welcoming, and healthy place for all students, staff, and community to learn. Our schools will be physically safe and clean with an inclusive environment. Students will have access to social, emotional, and mental health support.
  • Guardrail 4: Students’ potential and achievement will not be limited by practices that maintain systemic racism.

Our Work

Culturally Responsive Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (CR-PBIS)

CR-PBIS is a framework for helping schools organize and implement positive, evidence based strategies for improving climate and fostering positive student behavior. More than 100 schools in SDP currently implement CR-PBIS with support from a coach from our office. Learn more about CR-PBIS HERE.

Relationships First (Restorative Justice-Practices)

Relationships First is a schoolwide restorative justice-practices approach that emphasizes the importance of positive, authentic human connection and its link to both academic success and social-emotional learning. More than 60 SDP schools currently implement Relationships First with support from coaches from our office. Learn more about Relationships First HERE.

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework to ensure that all students have the support and resources that they need to access grade-level instruction in a safe and welcoming environment. All of our work in the Office of School Climate and Culture focuses on Tier 1 (universal supports) of the MTSS framework.

Prosocial Recess and Lunch

Research demonstrates that, with appropriate structure and support, recess can be a fun, positive time when students can build relationships and develop social-emotional skills, with positive impacts on school climate, social and emotional learning, and academic achievement. The Office of School Climate & Culture works to ensure that all students have the opportunity to participate in fun, safe recess at their schools. We do this in part through a partnership with Playworks, an evidence-based provider of recess supports, training, and services.

School-Based Youth Courts

  • Youth court is a student-run restorative justice program that gives students that make a poor choice an opportunity to improve their behavior without being suspended or punished in the traditional way. Youth Court is run by a group of students that will find a way to help other students become responsible for their behavior and make better choices in the future.  The goal of youth court is to help students take responsibility and teach strategies for students to become more successful.
  • There are currently nineteen district supported youth courts that serve grades five through twelve. Schools that run district supported youth courts are provided with training and ongoing support to run a quality youth court.

Social and emotional learning is a critical area of focus that pervades all of our work in the Office of School Climate and Culture. Learn more HERE  about our supports for schools in areas like community meeting, SEL & academic integration, and mindfulness/stress management.

Social & Emotional Learning (includes: Community Meeting, SEL/Academic integration, mindfulness & stress management) 

The Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) team serves to provide the foundation for student, school, and district success by providing equitable and strategic guidance for the social and emotional development of all persons within the School District.

We are committed to developing the social and emotional skills of our team members, all District-based leaders and staff, students, and their families through community, relationships, self-reflection, and goal-setting.

Research tells us that no significant learning happens without significant relationships. The Student Well-being Survey is a 5-minute survey that each student (in grades 3-12) is asked to complete quarterly. It gathers school-wide and grade-wide information about students’ perceptions of their relationships with their peers, relationships with adults in school, and their comfort with and use of social-emotional skills. Learn more about the survey HERE.

All programming supported by the Office of School Climate & Culture includes a specific focus on increasing equitable conditions for all students, especially those who are historically marginalized. Our team collaborates closely with SDP’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to ensure that all our work lifts and advances the district’s equity goals.


If you are interested in learning more about how the Office of School Climate & Culture supports schools and students, please email us at

If you are interested in becoming a PBIS school, please contact Tynara Blount, Director of Positive Behavioral Systems and Supports, at

If you are interested in becoming a Relationships First (Restorative Justice Practices) school, please contact Josh Staub, Director of Restorative Programming, at

If you are interested in becoming a Community Meeting school, please contact Jaimie Piotrowicz, Director of Social & Emotional Learning, at

If you are interested in learning how our Climate and Culture Coaches can support your school, please contact Gina Upshaw, Director of Climate and Culture, at

If you are interested in becoming a youth court school, please contact John Papiano, Youth Court Specialist, at

If you are interested in learning more about the Student Well Being Survey and our MTSS Tier I Interventions, please contact Shannon Ellis, Director of Climate Implementation and Innovation, at