We encourage school communities to strengthen and support relationships between and among all members of the school community, paying particular attention to five key indicators of success.

Photo credit: Codman Academy Charter School, Dorchester, MA.


We encourage educators and school communities to think about relationships in a broader and deeper way, one that engages administrators, teachers, other staff members, students, and their families in profoundly different kinds of interactions with one another. Dive into our work and let us know what you think.

  • At Astra, we were interested in exploring how states responded to this challenge and what that meant for the educators, students, and families in their charge.

    We applaud the handful of states that seized upon this crisis as an opportunity to think deeply about their education systems and reinvent how they approach teaching and learning.

    In this report we summarize the key differences in states’ COVID-19 responses and highlight their shared concerns. The analysis identifies policies and practices that we hope states and districts will consider in the event of future school closures.

  • It’s no secret that positive, respectful relationships between teachers and students improve student engagement and achievement. Though this is true, we encourage educators and school communities to think about relationships in a broader and deeper way, one that engages administrators, teachers, other staff members, students, and their families in profoundly different kinds of interactions with one another.

    In this brief, we share the five key indicators of Radically Reimagined Relationships that we have identified in our work in schools, as well as the values, skills, and resources that create the fertile ground where RRR can thrive.

  • In this annotated bibliography, we provide an overview of the research behind our five indicators of Radically Reimagined Relationships: Culture of Belonging and Well-Being; Dispositions of Humility, Care, and Curiosity; Shared Purpose and Responsibility; Agency and Trust; and Commitment to Equity and Justice. This collection of articles includes research from peer-reviewed journals, masters and doctoral theses, books, and reports issued by nonprofit organizations.

  • A growing number of states are asking districts to pay closer attention to school-related relationships pertaining to students, staff, and families, most often through school climate surveys.

    In this report and the accompanying How States are Measuring School Climate chart, we look at what states are measuring, who they are surveying, and what questions they’re asking. And we provide recommendations for states that are ready to take the next steps.

  • The growth in state adoption of school climate surveys has been extraordinary: whereas in 2018 only 15 states had implemented school climate surveys, two years later that number has more
    than doubled.

    In this chart, we lay out the variety of school-climate indicators thirty-one states are surveying and seeking to improve.

  • We believe that equity honors the many unique characteristics and dignity of every person and their right to find challenge, joy, and purpose in their lives. And we believe that justice demands the active pursuit of full equity by behaving according to what is morally right and fair in a system that is still grappling with systemic discrimination and disadvantage. Equity and justice are infused in each of our five indicators.

    If education is to live out its fullest promise--to engage, develop, and lift up all students—then it must demonstrate, in word and deed, that every student deserves to be loved, heard, and counted.

    Download and read about the fifth indicator in our Indicators in Action Series.

  • A wealth of research attests to the importance of prioritizing a sense of belonging and well-being in schools. A sense of belonging increases students’ motivation and engagement in academics, improves students’ grades and test scores, and decreases the likelihood of bullying, depression, and dropping out. We also know that belonging correlates positively with improved mental health, sleep, resilience, and happiness.

    In schools with a culture of belonging and well-being, young people and adults are valued and welcomed into a community of empathy and connection.

    Download and read about the first indicator in our Indicators in Action Series.

  • We believe that the strongest and most meaningful school relationships grow out of a sense of genuine humility and the belief that each of us--adults and students alike--has something valuable to contribute to the school community.

    This indicator is closely connected to Indicator 1: Culture of Belonging and Well-being because these dispositions help to build that culture.

    Download and read about the second indicator in our Indicators in Action Series.

  • The work of schools is messy, complex, and important. We have found that school communities function at much higher levels when members of the community share a common purpose and responsibility for carrying out that purpose.

    When staff, families, and students co-create the school community and feel their voices and values are heard, all the relationships in the school - and the work of the school - are strengthened.

    Download and read about the third indicator in our Indicators in Action Series.

  • When students have the ability to express their interests and opinions, and make choices about what and how they will learn, their motivation, engagement, and self-assurance all increase. When school staff members have real agency to design learning experiences that address their students’ needs and interests and the ability to drive their own professional learning, their engagement increases as well.

    In schools where agency and trust are prioritized, all members of the community have real responsibility, the freedom to take risks, and the confidence that their unique skills and strengths will be honored and put to use.

    Download and read about the fourth indicator in our Indicators in Action Series.

  • If you only have a few minutes but would like to read the key ideas from our full report, Radically Reimagined Relationships: the Foundation of Engagement, start here!

  • In partnership with our friends at Center for Inspired Teaching, we studied and visited schools around the country seeking to understand the foundations of engagement.

    The report includes examples and practical guidance from more than 20 public, charter, and private schools across the country that are working to transform PreK-12 education for diverse student populations so that educators and students alike find challenge, joy, and purpose in the work they are doing.

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