Teacher Action Research-Examining Safe School Culture at an Elementary School

Principal Investigator: Shanna Cohen

UCLA Lab School, teacher, Safe School Specialist

Participants: Keywords: Computer-Supported early literacy,  language learning

This teacher action research project is bringing new research focus to the lab school faculty’s understanding of the Safe School system.  For the past 15 years, Safe School has served as the foundational system for social-emotional growth at the lab school by providing children and adults with the tools and language for self-awareness and conflict resolution. In the past, Safe School personnel have held trainings for all new employees but there was no consistent, ongoing training for hired faculty and staff. Now, however, we are offering annual training for all employees in order to keep Safe School values and language at the forefront of our practice.


Last school year, the Safe School Vision Committee sponsored a multi-year research project led by Shanna Cohen, working with committee members, Safe School Specialist Laurie Ramirez, and GSEIS PhD candidate Christine Lee. The goal for the multi-year research project is to determine how well the Safe School system is integrated throughout the school. Last year a school-wide teacher and TA survey was used to identify areas on which to focus future training.   This year, using the results of the survey a new training for teachers and staff was implemented in October.   One teacher new to the lab school stated, “I learned more in this four-hour training than I did in all my teacher education programs”. Ongoing data collection by researchers includes student interviews post-conflict, analysis of conflict mediation practices and collection of surveys to determine how Safe School practices are being integrated into our classroom culture.