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“Elements of School Culture”

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1 “Elements of School Culture”

2 Dear Diary, Please allow every teacher to realize what awesome power they hold in their hands and that they are the doors through which whole new worlds of possibility can open for their students. That by understanding students, day to day, and not judging them or shutting out the many opportunities for their success teachers can, and often do, make all the difference Sandi Redenbach (Autobiography of a Dropout)

3 “Make a Difference”

4 The finest gift we can give our children is our heartfelt belief that they can succeed. Lawrence W. Lezotte

5 Culture A complex pattern of norms, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, values, ceremonies, traditions, and myths that are deeply ingrained in the very core of the organization.

6 Why is culture important?
It influences and shapes the way teachers, students, and administrators think, feel, and act.

7 Culture and Effectiveness
“At a deeper level, all organizations, especially schools, improve performance by fostering a shared system of norms folkways, values, and traditions. These infuse the enterprise with passion, purpose, and a sense of spirit. Without a strong, positive culture, schools flounder and die.” (Peterson and Deal, 2002)

8 Culture is a powerful force that exists in any organization in which people share some history. It develops as people work together, solve problems, cope with conflicts, achieve successes, and deal with tragedy. (Schein, 1985; Deal and Peterson,1999) 8

9 Take 2 minutes at your tables and choose a song that would describe how your school currently works together to solve problems, cope with conflicts, achieve successes and deal with tragedy.

10 Elements of Culture Norms, Values and Beliefs Symbols and Artifacts
Stories that Herald Values Cultural Network Rituals, Traditions, and Ceremonies 10

11 School Culture influences :
FOCUS-what people pay attention to COMMITMENT-how they identify with the school MOTIVATION-how hard they work PRODUCTIVITY-degree to which they achieve their goals

12 Positive vs. Toxic Culture
Think about your school or county system: Is improvement important? How motivated is everyone to work hard? How do people feel when students do not perform well? What do we talk about in public or in private? How much support to innovative colleagues receive? Do we believe all students can learn? Do we feel student capacity is determined by background? Is your daily work a calling or a job?

13 Positive vs. Toxic Take 2 minutes at your table to develop a list of six adjectives that would describe the culture of your school.

14 Teachers and students are more likely to succeed in a culture that fosters hard work, commitment to valued ends, an attention to problem solving, and a focus on learning for ALL students.

15 Key Roles of Cultural Leaders
READ the Culture Historian and Anthropologist ASSESS the Culture Analyst and Evaluator REINFORCE or TRANSFORM the Culture Visionary, Symbol, Potter, Poet, Actor, and Healer (Deal and Peterson, 1994; 1999) 15

16 Failure is not an option!
If you keep doing what you have always done, you will continue to get the same results. Edward Deming

17 Elements of Toxic Cultures
Negative Values and beliefs hold sway in toxic cultures. Sense of purpose is spiritually fragmented. Relationships are negative and destructive. The cultural network’s most powerful members negaholics (Carter-Scott, 1989) The only heroes are anti-heroic. Few positive rituals, traditions, or ceremonies exist to develop a sense of community and hopefulness. Deal and Peterson (1999). 17

18 Elements of Positive Professional Cultures:
1. Share strong norms of collegiality and improvement. Parallel play Adversial Congenial Collegial It is not enough to be busy. The question is: “What are we busy about?” Henry David Thoreau

19 Strong Professional Cultures:
Value student learning over personal ease Assume ALL children can learn if they—teachers and staff—find the curriculum and instructional strategies that work.

20 In effective schools, the culture reinforces the collaborative problem solving, planning, and data-driven decision making.

21 We don’t choose our challenges… They choose us…
We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need-to do that. Whether or not we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven’t so far. Larry Lezotte

22 We can talk or dream about the glorious schools of the future or we can create them Marilyn Ferguson 22

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