2Culture is the most powerful source of leverage for bringing about change in a school – or any organization, for that matter Thomas J. Sergiovanni
3School CultureSchool culture is norms developed over time based on shared attitudes, values, beliefs, expectations, relationships, and traditions of a particular school that cause it to function or react as it does.
4School Culture Con’tSchool Culture is often majority driven (staff), intangible, hard to describe, and difficult to positively impact, or change in a systemic way. The attitudes, beliefs, and values may often be “hidden” to those new to or outside of the school community.
5School Climate is the communication of its norms, beliefs, and values through various behaviors and interactions and their effect on others, with the primary focus being on students. School Climate is driven by and reflected in the daily interactions of staff, administration, students, support staff, and the outside community.
6Climate is expressed in tangible ways, is more leadership driven, and responds more quickly to change. Climate is demonstrated through collegiality, communication, decision-making, trust, expectations, ideology, leadership, recognition, celebration, support, and experimentation. Climate should directly reflect the school’s mission statement through its focus and actions.
7School Culture is over a period of time…the history Climate is now, it’s the perceptions/emotions being evoked
8Definition of CultureIn short, Terrence Deal, author and professor at Vanderbilt University, explains, “It is the way we do business here and clarifies what is important and what is not.”
11ACCIDENTAL vs INTENTIONAL CULTURE Accidental CultureIntentional Culture1. Activities are based on assumptions.1. Activities are research-based.2. Academic goals deteriorates to a wish list.2. Academic goals are credible. The focus is on results.3. Mission and goals are ignored.3. Mission and goals are used as a blue print for school improvement.4. Decisions are dictated and developed by few.4. Broad collaboration: decisions are widely shared
12ACCIDENTAL vs INTENTIONAL CULTURE Accidental CultureIntentional Culture1. Articulated Beliefs1. Beliefs are tied to actions and behaviors.2. Random Values2. Values tied to vision and mission3. Connections are random3. Connections are constantly sought4. Diversity is acknowledge4. Diversity is valued
13Little or no sense of community Disrespect/hostility widespread Negativity in a school culture or climate is usually manifested in the attitudes and actions of school staff through:No ownershipLittle or no sense of communityDisrespect/hostility widespreadLow morale and distrustNo or low expectationsLittle or no communication among stakeholdersResistance to change
14Examples of Negativity through Dysfunctional Norms Dread coming to schoolCriticize those who are innovativePolitics drive decision-makingDo just enough to get byJudgmental/Critical of other’s motivationFear reprisalDistrust colleagues or administration“Me First”Operate in a vacuumAdapted from Shaping School Culture: The Heart of Leadership (1998)
15A Toxic School Culture Is full of Taters DictatorsCommentatorsAgitatorsSpectators
17Positive School Culture/Climate Mission IS about student and teacher learningRich sense of history and purposeCore values of collegiality, performance, and improvement centered around quality, achievement, and learning for ALL studentsPositive and Proactive Approaches for staff and students
18Positive School Culture/Climate Stories that celebrate successes and recognize heroines and heroesPhysical Environment reflects pride and joyWidespread sense of respect and nurturing
19Why Is School Culture Important? What research tells us:“Positive learning can only take place in a positive culture. A healthy school culture will affect more student and teacher success than any other reform or school improvement effort currently being employed.”-Gary Phillips
21If you intend to introduce a change that is incompatible with the organization’s culture, you have only three choices: modify the change to be more in line with the existing culture, alter the culture to be more in line with the proposed change, or prepare to fail David Salisbury & Daryl Conner, 1994
22It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change, or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between … it’s like being in between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.- Marilyn Ferguson
23YOU MUST FIRST ASSESS YOUR CULTURE! TO IMPROVE YOURCULTURE…YOU MUST FIRST ASSESS YOUR CULTURE!
25Four Steps in Creating a Truthful Culture Lead with questions, not with answers.Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion.Conduct autopsies without blame.Build red flag mechanisms that turn information into information that cannot be ignored.
26Reculturing versus Restructuring Changing The School CultureReculturing versus Restructuring
27STRUCTURE CULTURE STRUCTURE VS. CULTURE Day-To-Day Policies & ProceduresSchool RulesCULTURELong-Term Beliefs, Expectations, and Habits
28TO CHANGE YOUR SCHOOL’S CULTURE Promote your mission, vision, values and goals.Bring your staff together to find best practices.Sustain the culture through communication.Persist.Confront problems.
29What Do We Know About Effective Culture? Twelve Norms of School Culture Where People and Programs ImproveCollegialityAppreciation and recognitionExperimentationCaring, celebration, humorHigh expectationsInvolvement in decision makingTrust and confidenceProtection of what’s importantTangible supportTraditionsReaching out to the knowledge basesHonest, open communication“Good Seeds Grow in Strong Cultures” by Saphier and King
30A Final Thought“Self-renewing school cultures are collaborative places where adults care about one another, share common goals and values, and have the skills and knowledge to plan together, solve problems together, and fight passionately but gracefully for ideas to improve instruction.”-Robert Garmston & Bruce Wellman
31It’s difficult to change school culture, but remain optimistic
34All I Need To Know, I Learned From Noah’s Ark: Don’t Miss The BoatRemember That We Are All In The Same BoatPlan Ahead: It was not Raining When Noah Built The ArkStay Fit: When you’re 600 years old someone may ask you to do something really big
35All I Need To Know, I Learned From Noah’s Ark: Don’t Listen To Critics; Just Get On With The Job That Needs To Be Done.Build Your Future on high Ground.For Safety Travel In Pairs.Speed isn’t always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.
36All I Need To Know, I Learned From Noah’s Ark: When you’re stressed, float a while.Remember the Ark was built by amateurs, and the titanic by professionalsNo matter the storm, when you are with the right people, there’s always a rainbow waiting
37A MOMENT OF CLARITY I learned that … I realized that … I was pleased that …I was not aware that…