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Transforming School Culture:

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Culture is the most powerful source of leverage for bringing about change in a school – or any organization, for that matter. Thomas J. Sergiovanni

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School Culture School 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.

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School 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. School Culture Con’t

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School 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.

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Climate 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.

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School Culture is over a period of time…the history Climate is now, it’s the perceptions/emotions being evoked

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Definition of Culture In 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.”

Group Activity : 

Group Activity The Hotel California

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ACCIDENTAL vs INTENTIONAL CULTURE

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ACCIDENTAL vs INTENTIONAL CULTURE

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Negativity in a school culture or climate is usually manifested in the attitudes and actions of school staff through: No or low expectations Little or no communication among stakeholders Resistance to change No ownership Little or no sense of community Disrespect/hostility widespread Low morale and distrust

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Examples of Negativity through Dysfunctional Norms Dread coming to school Criticize those who are innovative Politics drive decision-making Do just enough to get by Judgmental/Critical of other’s motivation Fear reprisal Distrust colleagues or administration “Me First” Operate in a vacuum Adapted from Shaping School Culture: The Heart of Leadership (1998)

A Toxic School Culture Is full of Taters : 

A Toxic School Culture Is full of Taters Dictators Commentators Agitators Spectators

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Positive School Culture/Climate Mission IS about student and teacher learning Rich sense of history and purpose Core values of collegiality, performance, and improvement centered around quality, achievement, and learning for ALL students Positive and Proactive Approaches for staff and students

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Positive School Culture/Climate Stories that celebrate successes and recognize heroines and heroes Physical Environment reflects pride and joy Widespread sense of respect and nurturing

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Why 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

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TRANSFORMING SCHOOL CULTURE

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If 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

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It’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

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YOU MUST FIRST ASSESS YOUR CULTURE! TO IMPROVE YOUR CULTURE…

GROUP ACTIVITY : 

GROUP ACTIVITY SCHOOL CULTURE SURVEY

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Four 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.

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Reculturing versusRestructuring Changing The School Culture

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STRUCTURE VS. CULTURE STRUCTURE Day-To-Day Policies & Procedures School Rules CULTURE Long-Term Beliefs, Expectations, and Habits

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TO 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.

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What Do We Know About Effective Culture? Twelve Norms of School Culture Where People and Programs Improve “Good Seeds Grow in Strong Cultures” by Saphier and King

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A 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

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It’s difficult to change school culture, but remain optimistic

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WE ARE ALL IN THIS BOAT TOGETHER

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All I Need To Know, I Learned From Noah’s Ark: Don’t Miss The Boat Remember That We Are All In The Same Boat Plan Ahead: It was not Raining When Noah Built The Ark Stay Fit: When you’re 600 years old someone may ask you to do something really big

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All 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.

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All 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 professionals No matter the storm, when you are with the right people, there’s always a rainbow waiting

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A MOMENT OF CLARITY I learned that … I realized that … I was pleased that … I was not aware that…

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Presented By:Dr. Roger Cleveland, Lead Consultant Millennium Learning Concepts 465 Skyview Lane Lexington, Kentucky 40511 859-420-8032 E-Mail: drclevel@windstream.net