“I like it here, Mommy!” These were the words spoken by a potential kindergartner for the 2017-18 school year.
This week, I had the opportunity to tour this little gal and her mom through our school. The timing wasn’t ideal as it was during the lunch hour. As a result, we weren’t able to see students in classrooms and/or teachers in the act of teaching. Even without a personal conversation with teachers and a glimpse into a living, breathing classroom, this is the impression this eager learner left with. How does this happen?
I see this as evidence of the culture of our building. It is unspoken, yet, seen and heard by those who stroll through our hallways. The term school culture generally refers to the philosophies and beliefs held by the school community and impacts the way in which the school functions. A school culture results from both conscious and unconscious perspectives, actions, and practices held by the learning community (students, parents, and staff).
Positive school cultures are advantageous to staff morale and effectiveness, as well as, to student learning, fulfillment, and well-being. The following list, as identified by Great School Partnerships, is a selection of characteristics commonly associated with positive school cultures:
- The individual successes of teachers and students are recognized and celebrated.
- Relationships and interactions are characterized by openness, trust, respect, and appreciation.
- Staff relationships are collegial, collaborative, and productive, and all staff members are held to high professional standards.
- School leaders, teachers, and staff members model positive, healthy behaviors for students.
- Mistakes are not looked upon as failure, but they are seen as opportunities to learn and grow for both students and educators.
- Students are consistently held to high academic expectations, and a majority of students meet or exceed those expectations.
- All students have access to the academic support and services they may need to succeed.
A positive school culture is not something that happens by accident; it is planned, well-designed, and implemented with a high degree of intention. Thank you for being acutely aware of our words and actions in an effort to maintain an environment that promotes learning, fulfillment, and well-being.