UCLA Lab School’s innovative Safe School System was developed by teachers, administrators and researchers to build character and manage conflict among students. Our goal is to foster a caring community in which all our students feel safe to learn and play, without physical, verbal or non-verbal harassment or threats of any kind. Our community values, outlined in our Safe School Guidelines, are interwoven into the curriculum and the life of our school. They are reinforced through discussion, classroom lessons, mediations on the playground and timely addressing of issues as they arise. In our approach, problems and conflicts are seen as teachable moments that can be used to reduce future negative behaviors.

If you are interested in working with us to build a safe school system at your school, please read through our Frequently Asked Questions for more information. Because our system is based on school-wide adoption, the principal at your school must be the person to contact us initially.

The Building Blocks of Safe School

building blocks of safe school

Cool Tools

An important component of our Safe School System is Cool Tools, which guides young children in resolving conflicts by using concrete objects to teach abstract concepts. Cool Tools vividly teaches lifelong strategies for handling all forms of conflict through the use of a toolbox filled with kaleidoscopes, mazes, bubbles, toothpaste tubes and more. These “tools” serve as prompts to help children explore, understand and remember behaviors and concepts such as responsibility, decision making, personal space, inclusion, consideration, kindness, integrity, empathy, fairness, patience, forgiveness and determination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is UCLA Lab School’s Safe School System for?

Our system was developed for elementary schools, PK–Grade 6.

What is the cost?

The cost for training teachers and staff is determined on an individual basis with each school. It is based on the size, location and individual needs of your school.

How do we contact you regarding bringing the Safe School System to our school?

The initial contact must be from the principal of your school. Send an email to our Safe School Coordinator, Laurie Ramirez, at lramirez@labschool.ucla.edu. Once the initial contact is made, Laurie will make a 30-minute presentation at your school, after which your school’s teachers and staff can discuss the system and decide if they would like to proceed.

Who needs to receive the training?

We have found that a safe school system is only truly effective when there is 100% buy-in from the entire staff. All teachers, teaching assistants and staff should attend the sessions. Creating a safe school means creating a culture of problem solving among all members of the community — students, teachers, staff, and parents.

Why is it a system, not a program?

Our Safe School System is based on the belief that all communities are unique and that to create a caring culture and a safe environment, community members must take time to reflect on the values they want to enforce and the ways to best enforce them. By offering a framework and a process, our system is adaptable to diverse environments and responsive to the individual needs of schools and classrooms.