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School Culture and Climate

What is School and Classroom Culture?

The term school culture generally refers to the beliefs, perceptions, relationships, attitudes, and written and unwritten rules that shape and influence every aspect of how a school functions, but the term also encompasses more concrete issues such as the physical and emotional safety of students, the orderliness of classrooms and public spaces, or the degree to which a school embraces and celebrates racial, ethnic, linguistic, or cultural diversity.

At Oakland Schools, we believe thinking and learning should be the focus; any and all roadblocks to that end should be intentionally removed.  

Support for School and Classroom Culture at Oakland Schools

Oakland Schools believes that learning happens within the context of the district, building and classroom culture; the culture teaches and culture counts. A variety of consultants are available for consultation, resources and professional learning.  In addition, Oakland Schools supports of variety of related projects.

What is Mental Health in Schools?

Good Mental Health is the foundation of learning. We know that students/families that are struggling with mental health issues often need support and resources to assist in living healthy and fulfilling lives in which learning, happiness and appropriate growth occurs.

Reports indicate that upwards of 1 in 5 adult Americans are currently experiencing mental health concerns, and an estimated four million children and adolescents are struggling from serious mental health problems, along with more minor adjustment issues. The National Alliance for Mental Illness estimates that half of all lifetime cases of mental disorders begin by age 14. In any given year it is estimated that only 20 percent of children needing mental health support actually receive it.  These numbers present a serious concern for our youth, community, state and nation.

Unfortunately, mental health problems are sometimes misunderstood by the person experiencing the problem, and or others involved in their lives (family, community, school etc.). Mental healt​h problems can be accompanied by negative feelings such as guilt and shame that keep our children and their families from receiving the support they need.

Support for Mental Health at Oakland Schools

Oakland Schools, along with many community partners,  feel a sense of urgency in understanding our community's mental health needs and supporting our youth, families, schools and community in this vital area. A variety of services, support and resources area available in multiple departments throughout Oakland Schools. These services range from basic education, curriculum, prevention programs, data analysis and direct consultation and referral. Ensuring a variety or resources to help address minor to complex issues faced by youth and families in our community is important at Oakland Schools.


Patricia Chinn

Supervisor of School Culture and Climate

Cornelius Godfrey

Diversity and Equity Consultant

Christina Harvey

Health Curriculum Consultant

Amy Hawtin

Mental Health Consultant

Jill Maneice

Reading Intervention Consultant

Julie McDaniel

Student Safety & Well-Being Consultant

Jacqueline Mitchell

Educational Improvement Consultant

Elizabeth Pare

School Culture And Climate - Research Evaluation And Assessment Consultant

Dawn Ploch

Project/Department Assistant

Janet Thomas

Project/Department Assistant

Asha Williams

Educational Improvement Consultant - Literacy

Amber Zarb

Mental Health Consultant