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 Generating clear, open communication with the

parents of your students.

 Go beyond parent-teacher meetings and organize
 You can ask parents to be on event committees or
to participate in school fundraisers.
 Developing educational programs for parents.
For example, Hollibrook Elementary in Spring
Branch, Texas, developed a “Parent University” to
get parents more actively involved in the school —
helping build trust and rapport between the school
and the families of the students.
 This means more than the occasional “good
 Complimenting kids
 Set goals for the number of compliments
 Celebrating the achievements of your students
can be done on a larger scale as well.
For example, Joyce Elementary School in
Detroit started holding an honor ceremony for
students. Here, they presented medallions for
students and praised specific achievements.
This event includes not only school members,
but hundreds from the community.
 Your school and classroom rules should be
clear to all students, and should be well-
 For example, instead of creating specific
rules about chewing gum, use of water
bottles, or electronic devices in the
classroom, you could create a classroom
rule that states: “Be respectful of the people
around you.”
 To help students apply these norms, there
should be consistency across the entire
school building, inside and out.
 When rules are not followed, discipline must be
administered. However, broadening the range of
discipline methods can help encourage a positive school
 Instead of constantly putting out fires, trying a more
proactive approach to discipline.
For example, imagine one student started a fight. His
discipline could include having to write a letter of apology
to the student he hurt, and then to take a shift as “hallway
 Getting your teachers to internalize the subtle and tactful
arts of classroom management consistently is critical for a
school culture of mutual respect and adherence to rules
— both by teachers and students.
 Also, it’s essential that all discipline is presented
consistently across the school.
 You have a list of qualities and
values that you want to see in
your teachers and students.
 But how well do you present
those same aspects of your
school culture?
 When in school, your students are learning more than
just secular instruction. They’re also developing their
social skills, and learning how to become successful
 One way to engage students and develop these
types of skills is through social-emotional learning
 In the research brief Social Emotional Learning in
Elementary School, researchers found that SEL
programs helped students make more ethical
decisions, maintain positive relationships, set and
achieve goals at school and at home, and manage
their emotions. These programs promoted
achievements at school, and reduced substance
abuse and emotional distress.
 The school day — and school year —
should be punctuated with time for fun.
For example, one school created a weekly
event called ‘Fabulous Friday’, which
opened students up to a variety of fun
 Why not create your own version of
Fabulous Friday?
For example, you can create special rituals
and traditions for the first day of school, or
for the first day of a new month.
 Innovation in the classroom starts with you — the school
 When talking with teachers, encourage them to try new
methods of teaching. You can even set up regular
meetings to discuss new research on teaching methods or
new teaching tech, and how these can be implemented
in your school.
 For example, why not try game-based learning?
 Particularly popular for improving results in topics like math,
video game based learning has been shown to heighten
the level of interest, concentration, and enjoyment of
educational materials among students.
 And teachers tend to agree: in one study by the Joan
Ganz Cooney Center, almost 80% of K-8 classroom
teachers surveyed agreed that digital games have
“improved student mastery of curricular content”.
 Helping your teachers to develop their skills will
encourage a positive school culture by giving them
the ability to improve their craft.
For example, the Mooresville Intermediate School in
North Carolina pairs each new teacher with a mentor
at the beginning of their career at the school. This
helps teachers to be fully aware of school policies
and rules, and gives them specific instruction in how
the school uses tech in the classroom.

 School leader should set up regular times to ask for

feedback, hear out concerns, and get suggestions
for improvement.
 Surprisingly enough, the physical surroundings of
students and teachers has a huge impact on the
culture of your school.
 The HEAD Project (Holistic Evidence and Design) took
evidence from over 3,700 students in 27 diverse
schools. They found that the physical space where
students are learning can account for a 16% variation
in the learning process over a school year.
 What aspects of a classroom have the most impact?
 Adopting a policy that allows for flexible seating in
classrooms is one step school leaders are taking more
 Unfortunately, creating a positive school
culture isn’t just a matter of following a
 Analyzing the current situation of your school.
 Set aside time every few months to analyze
your school culture. Keep on the watch for the
specific factors that indicate a positive school
culture, and keep using the steps above to
reinforce those aspects. Also, be aware of any
negative factors that have started to seep in,
and take decisive action to remove those.
 If you’ve already started efforts to build a positive
school culture but aren’t seeing the results you
expected, don’t worry.
 Changing the attitudes of all the staff and students
within your school won’t be an overnight process.
However, it will be worth the wait.
 Remember: this change process starts with you. So,
make an effort to mimic the behavior and attitudes
that you want to see displayed in your school.
 Keep working patiently at building a school culture
that fosters positive action, and your students will be
better prepared to learn better and become more
successful now and into the future.