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SCHOOL CULTURE - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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SCHOOL CULTURE. The Missing Link in School Improvement. Reflect on the Culture of Your School. Good Things Not So Good Things Take two minutes to list. How School Culture is Like an Aquarium…. If the Fish in the Aquarium are Getting Sick Don’t blame the Fish

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The Missing Link in School Improvement

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Reflect on the Culture of Your School

  • Good Things

  • Not So Good Things

  • Take two minutes to list

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How School Culture is Like an Aquarium…..

  • If the Fish in the Aquarium are Getting Sick

    • Don’t blame the Fish

    • Fish need a health environment to thrive and grow

    • Fish school together for support and protection’

    • Fish will prosper when the temperature of the water is ideal

    • The water must be clean and free of toxic substances

    • Not all fish have the same needs

    • Fish in the aquarium are helpless in efforts to improve their environment

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  • What is School Culture?

        Deal and Peterson (1993) have offered the most succinct definition of school culture. They simply state it is an "inner reality."Robbins and Alvy (1995) expand the definition by stating that "This inner reality reflects what organizational members care about, what they are willing to spend time doing, what and how they celebrate, and what they talk about. " 

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How to Tell if the Culture in the Aquarium (School) is Toxic

  • The Staff is overwhelmed and have exhausted all of their efforts to improve scores.

  • Teaching and leading a school has lost its joy and become one of drudgery favoring a “just a job” mentality.

  • Tension and stress abound.

  • Everyone plays the “Blame Game”.

  • Isolation Abounds in the school.

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Guiding question to Ask about Your School culture

  • Are you striving for a positive school climate supported by a spirited staff? Is your school focused on teamwork and collegiality? Are all stakeholders involved in the process? Do you struggle to attain higher levels of student achievement year after year?

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  • What is School Culture

    • People more important than programs

    • How people treat one another

    • How people value one another

    • Accumulation of many individuals‘ values and norms

    • Consensus about what is important

    • The way we do things “Around Here”

    • Shared Experiences

    • Common Vision and Mission

    • School’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviors which characterize a school



Every school has one and every school can improve it’s culture.

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CULTUREvsCLIMATE Peterson ( 2002)



  • Personality of school

  • Shared experiences (both in and outside the school)

  • Traditions

  • Celebrations

  • Sense of Community

  • Norms, Values, Symbols and Stories

  • Physical Appearance

  • Outward Indicators

  • Displays of student work

  • Safe and welcoming environment

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Four Steps to improvingSchool Culture

  • Assess the current culture

  • Analyze the findings

  • Select Areas for improvement

  • Continue to monitor and adjust

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Assess the current culture

  • Needs to Assess… the Three Major Indicators of School Culture.

    • COLLABORATION is characterized as the degree to which people work together, share information and instructional strategies, and are encouraged to have constructive discussions and debates.

    • Professional Collaboration…Teachers and other staff meet to solve instructional, organizational or curricular issues.

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Affiliation and Collegiality

  • COLLEGIALITY is about a sense of belonging, emotional support, and inclusion as a valued member of the organization.

  • Affiliation and Collegiality…Working together, feeling valued and included, and a sense of value and belonging.

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Efficacy and Determination

  • EFFICACY, for the purpose of this process, tends to focus on how stakeholders' view themselves. Do they feel as if they have control of their destinies or do they view themselves as helpless victims of "the system?" Do they respect research-supported evidence about good teaching or are they rigidly attached to the status quo?

  • Efficacy and Determination…I am in this school because I want to be here.

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  • Find out what areas need immediate attention

  • Make modifications and improvements

  • Maintain the fine qualities of the school’s culture

  • Celebrate the excellent parts of the school’s culture

  • Continue to find ways to improve

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Select Areas for improvement

  • Select Areas through Collaboration involving all stakeholders.

    • Creating a collaborative culture has been described as the single most important factor for successful improvement and represent the 1st order of business for those seeking to enhance the school’s effectiveness.

      • --Rick DuFour (2002)

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monitor and adjust

  • School Culture can be compared to a personal relationship

    • Regularly Strengthened and supported

    • Promote continuous improvement philosophy

    • Periodic Adjustments

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Article Jigsaw Activity

  • Read the 4 articles related to school culture (15 minutes)

    • Barth….Culture Builder

    • Reeves…How Do You Change a School Culture

    • Wagner…Leadership for and Improved School Culture

    • Peterson…Positive or Negative

  • Return to group and tell the group the highlights of your article (2 minutes for each article)

  • Produce a Group MIT CHART (Most Important Things) of 10 and star the top three (3)

  • Report out to whole group