The Importance of School Climate and Culture

Great principals set a positive, affirming tone for their school climate and culture. They establish a school vision and expectations for student and staff behavior, and develop effective, evidence-based methods for handling discipline problems when they occur. Effective principals make school a safe, welcoming place to be, encouraging student and staff attendance. Relationships are at the core of a great school climate and culture, and great principals make relationships with students, teachers and families a priority, creating a ripple effect across the school community.

The Brian J. Davis Fellowship for School Climate and Culture supports Title I elementary school principals to work on a climate and culture project of their choosing. The fellowship includes grant funding, coaching and other professional development opportunities to help principals increase their positive impact in schools.

“By promoting a positive climate, schools can allow greater equality in educational opportunities, decrease socioeconomic inequalities, and enable more social mobility.”

-- Ron Avi Astor, Marjorie Crump Endowed Professor of Social Welfare at UCLA Luskin


Meet the Inaugural Fellow


Marva Mckinney is the principal at Cedar Hills Elementary and the 2019-2020 Brian J. Davis Fellow for Climate and Culture. She is working to develop a supportive environment at her school, one where students feel safe, they have a relationship with a trusted teachers and are held to high standards for learning. As part of this work, she is developing strategies to reduce disparities in discipline by race and ethnicity at her diverse school.




of public schools in Duval County earned an "A," "B," or "C" in 2021-2022.