The inspirED Vision

It all began with student voice. As part of the Emotion Revolution, a collaboration between the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Facebook, and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, tens of thousands of high school students were asked how they felt in school and how they hoped to feel.

The majority of students said they felt tired , stressed, and bored .

However, when asked how they wanted to feel, students said…

Safe and comfortable

Passionate and purposeful

Respected and valued

Connected and supported

Contended and balanced

Happy and excited

Energized and motivated

Empowered and inspired

This discrepancy between how students were actually feeling and how they wanted to feel was a call to action and the driving force behind the creation of inspirED.

At inspirED, we believe that young people’s voices matter. Our free resources, designed by teens, educators, and SEL experts, empower students to work together to create more positive school climates and foster greater wellbeing in their schools and communities.

The Science of School Climate

The emotions felt by students, whether pleasant or unpleasant, contribute to school climate. School climate refers to the quality and character of school life. Folks who have attended or worked at more than one school may recognize that each school has a unique feel, and “the way it is here” changes from place to place. A school’s climate reflects the norms, goals, values, teaching and learning practices, organizational structures, and relationships within the school.

Students, teachers, administrators, staff, parents, coaches, and everyone else all influence school climate:  how everyone feels in school affects how they act, and how people act affects the feel of the school.  The National School Climate Center identifies four core components of positive school climate, and 11 domains of school climate, which are outlined below. 


Rules and Norms
– Are school rules enforced fairly and equally?
– Are students generally behaving or misbehaving?

Physical Safety
– Is there a lot of physical aggression or violence in the hallways or classes?
– Do students and staff feel safe here?
– Do I see people using drugs?
– Are the entrances to the school secure?
– Is there enough room in the hallways for everyone?

Social and Emotional Safety
– Can everyone in our school express their emotions without fear of negative responses?
– Do folks at school need to worry about bullying or intimidation from others, in person or online?
– Are there healthy and productive opportunities for people to process their emotions?
– Do students face rigid social structures?

Strong Relationships

Respect for Diversity
– Do I see all kinds of people represented at school and throughout school?
– Is school a safe place to express gender identities, politics, religion, or culture?
– Are diverse backgrounds represented and celebrated?

Social Support from Adults
– Are adults interacting positively and respectfully with students?
– Are adults yelling at or ignoring students?
– Do students have adults in the building that they can trust?

Social Support from Students
– Are students separated by grade, gender identities, religions, cultures, races, abilities, or sexualities?
– Is there evidence of competition about grades, including cheating or copying?
– Do students listen to and speak to each other respectfully?
– Are students sitting alone at lunch?

Social Support, Adult to Adult
– Are the relationships between adults respectful, professional, and appropriate?
– Do adults undermine each other in front of students?
– Do adults communicate among themselves for the benefit of students?

Support for Teaching and Learning

Support for Learning
– Are there supports for students who are struggling, as well as excelling?
– Do the same people talk and participate in class over and over?
– Are teachers on topic and excited about the material?
– Do teachers give meaningful feedback?

Social and Civic Learning
– Do classes include traditional knowledge alongside skills that a relevant and meaningful to students?
– Are there adequate resources available to students to support the non-academic aspects of their lives?
– Do educators teach SEL skills and knowledge and support students in the development of SEL?

Institutional Environment

School Connectedness and Engagement
– Are there a lot of extra curricular activities at students can join?
– Are there a lot of events and do people attend them?
– Are there a lot of students missing from classes?

Physical Surroundings
– Are there adequate resources at school?
– Is the school clean, ordered, and attractive?
– How is the lighting and temperature?

School climate can be measured in a number of ways, and assessing school climate is the first step in the inspirED Process. School leaders can share existing school climate data (such as those from the Yale School Climate Assessment, the  Gallup Student Poll, the  ED School Climate Surveys, the Challenge Success School Surveys, the  Panorama School Climate Survey, or the  National School Climate Center’s CSCI) with students on an inspirED team, or collaborate with students to develop their own way to ask students how they feel at school.

We know that emotions matter for attention, memory, and learning; decision-making; relationships; and mental and physical health. Together, we can make schools a place where students’ emotions are valued and where everyone feels safe, comfortable, passionate, purposeful, respected, valued, connected, supported, contented, balanced, happy, excited, energized, motivated, empowered, and inspirED!