Supporting Students and School Climate

Supporting Students and School Climate
Posted on 11/16/2022
Supporting Students and School Climate

In the Elmira City School District, we offer a variety of programs that empower confident and mindful students.

These services champion a healthy school environment and support students with the growing needs and changes that come with adolescents. Our programs, often in partnership with community agencies, focus on building relationships and empowering students to treat one another with kindness and respect.

We invite you to explore these services that connect students with appropriate supports. Of course, the most direct way of accessing more information about these programs is by reaching out directly to your student’s school principal or counselor.

Building a safe school environment for students to learn is our greatest priority. Throughout our schools in Elmira, we have a variety of preventative services for students to help shape the climate of our classrooms and schools.

Treatment Agreements

The idea is to focus on how we treat one another.

A treatment agreement is a collaborative pact created between teacher and students at the beginning of the school year that focuses specifically on how they will treat one another in the classroom.

In classrooms across the District, you’ll find ‘treatment agreements’ written on big poster board and on display in a prominent classroom location. Authored by students and staff together, Treatment Agreements are developed early in the year and referred to daily as reminders of their collective agreement on their behavioral expectations toward one another.

Restorative Practices

Restorative approaches are all about building community and strengthening relationships.

Restorative practices help to improve school climate and strengthen the social and emotional skills of young people and adults. Restorative approaches nurture a desire to treat others with care and respect.

Restorative approaches are based on the idea that when we feel part of a supportive community, we respect others in that community and become accountable to it. Our Elmira schools foster this sense of community through daily or weekly circles. Circles help participants better understand each other, stimulating a sense of empathy and connection.

Circles can be powerful and help develop important skills like active listening, handling strong emotions, and respecting differences. A restorative circle is an approach to repairing a conflict. Participants in a restorative circle are encouraged to be open and honest about their perspectives regarding a conflict, how they have been harmed, and how they think others might have been harmed.

Restorative circles in the classroom strengthen students' problem-solving skills. When conflicts do arise, students are prepared to have honest dialogue with their peers and teachers. Students learn to hold each other accountable, acknowledge each other's feelings, and accept everyone’s needs.

Counseling Support Services

Every school in our District has a School Counselor on staff.

School counselors, plus other programs in partnership with community agencies, provide support and care for students who may be struggling.

A full list of our school counselors can be found by following the link below. Once you click through the link, you will be brought to a page that will allow you to complete the Parent/Guardian Referral Form for your student’s school counselor:

>>Contact a school counselor

Hope Squads

Seeking to reduce self-destructive behavior and youth suicide by training, building, and creating change in schools and communities.

Hope Squad is a school-based peer support program that empowers selected students to take action to improve the school environment. Through a collective partnership between Abby’s Paws, Chemung County and the Elmira City School District, Hope Squads are across the District.

The Elmira City School District is pleased to be the first New York State public school district to introduce Hope Squad, a Utah-based mental health awareness non-profit committed to positive school culture and suicide prevention by peers.

At the primary levels (grades 4-6), elementary students will focus on self-esteem, positive self-image, coping strategies, and positive choices.

At the secondary level (7-12), the Hope Squad is a support team of partners with local mental health agencies. Peers nominate and select students who are trustworthy and caring individuals to join the Hope Squad. Squad members are trained to watch for at-risk students, provide friendship, identify suicide-warnings, and seek help from adults.

Hope Squad members are not taught to act as counselors, but rather, are educated on how to recognize signs of suicide contemplation, and how to properly and respectfully report this to an adult. Hope Squads are the eyes and ears of our schools.

>>Learn more here


SafeZones promotes diversity and encourages acceptance.

The Chemung County SafeZones Program provides middle and high school students with a safe, empowering, and non-judgmental environment to learn about LGBTQ+ history, culture, and relevant topics.

SafeZones promotes diversity and encourages acceptance for all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Safe Zones welcome all students. The Chemung County SafeZones Program is made possible through the partnerships of Chemung County, the Elmira City School District and Pathways Inc.

>>Learn more about Safe Zones here

KidTalk, School-Based Mental Health Program

Creating positive school climate.

The School-Based Mental Health Program (SMHP) offers a partnership between the Elmira City School District (ECSD) and the Family Services of Chemung County, Inc. (FSCC) Mental Health Clinic with the support of the County.

The program offers on‐site individual and family assessment and therapy services to students and their families. It is designed to allow greater access to community and home‐based mental health services for children and their families and can provide counseling support to individuals of all needs. The SMHP Therapists are qualified licensed mental health service providers who will work with family members, school staff, and other involved parties to meet the individual needs of the students.

Referrals to the SMHP may be made through each school’s KidTALK Meeting and/or by designated school staff with the completion of the SMHP Referral Form available in each school’s front office.

If you are a parent/guardian who believes their student could benefit from these services, please contact your student’s building principal.

My Brother's Keeper

Guiding and steering students in the right direction.

Now in it’s second full year at the Elmira City School District, the My Brother’s Keeper program in Elmira is growing strategically and thoughtfully so that real progress can be made. Community mentors and agency leaders have joined our ECSD team to help students who are in need of a positive role model and support networks. Mentors can be found in the hallways of our middle and high school buildings and out in the community with youth -- guiding and steering students in the right direction.

>>Learn more about My Brother's Keeper program