PMP:144 Building and Maintaining Positive School Culture

Cultivating a positive school culture is a lot like tending a garden.

Photo by Gabriel Jimenez – Creative Commons No known copyright restrictions

When you have tilled the soil, pulled the weeds, and watered your plants, your work is not finished. You will need to take the same steps again soon in order to keep a healthy environment for growth.

School culture requires the same care. In order to build and maintain a positive school culture, you must identify challenges and promote positives.

In the book, You’re the Principal, Now What? Strategies and Solutions for New School Leaders, author Jen Schwanke shares three kinds of school cultures to keep in mind: two negatives to combat and one positive to promote:

  • A Culture of Isolation
  • A Culture of Distrust
  • A Culture of Confidence, Understanding, and Teamwork

This week, Jen Schwanke joins Principal Matters Podcast to co-host a new series on Strategies and Solutions for New School Leaders. During this episode, we discuss the following strategies:

1. Gauging the past: This includes researching your school’s history and staying impartial when gathering information.

2. Building from the ground up: This requires establishing trust, showing appreciation, staying positive, leading by example, asking the right questions, taking one step at a time, and not expecting perfection.

3. Keeping momentum: Throughout the year, you must relentlessly take stock, be visible, make a goal of “every kid, every teacher, every day”, get personal, and be personable.

Let’s Wrap This Up

No matter what time of the year, cultivating positive school culture involves promoting work within and outside the classroom, gathering people together, seeking ideas and input from others, building teams, and rewarding evidence of positive culture. As you do the consistent work of building a culture of confidence, understanding, and teamwork, you promote a healthy environment for student growth. Listen-in to this week’s podcast conversation to learn more!

Now It’s Your Turn

What is one step you can take today to engage “every student and every teacher” in a positive school experience? Whether you increasing visibility or sharing out student happenings on social media, keep cultivating the “good soil” of your school culture this week.

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Principal Matters–The Book!

School leaders are very busy, so each of the twenty-four chapters is designed as a quick-read and followed with take-action questions for follow-up or reflection. If you want practical ideas on understanding your purpose, managing school teams, dealing with challenges, and leading with courage, action, motivation, and teamwork, go HERE to pick up a copy for you or your team.

Messaging Matters

Harness the power of messaging to create a culture of acknowledgment, respect, and celebration. Written specially for leaders, this title is divided into three parts, helping readers to maximize their role as chief communicators with students, teachers, and parents and community. Each chapter includes suggestions for using digital tools to enhance messaging and ends with reflection questions and practical next steps.

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker