It seems like a no-brainer: Research says children who feel safe and supported by adults have an easier time learning.

Environment and tone matters, and at the core of a school's positive culture are the relationships that develop. We have seen schools foster connections through advisory programs or morning meetings in class, where students may discuss sensitive topics or simply open up about their feelings. Others have staffers who mentor students who need extra support—checking in with them throughout the day, and even following up with phone calls and emails after school.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference: A principal who greets every student in the morning by name, teachers who open their classrooms during lunch period for children who feel overwhelmed or out-of-place in the cafeteria, or a staffer who notices a child acting down or distracted and simply asks her if she’s alright.

Check out this video at Edutopia and please tell us in our COMMENTS section: How does your school build relationships? What are they doing well and what can they do better?