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UNDERSTANDING SCHOOL CULTURE<br />Linda S. Nelson<br />Executive Director<br />North Carolina Association of Independent S...
Beliefs<br />Values<br />Traditions<br />Patterns of Behavior<br />Climate<br />Environment<br />“The Way We Do Things”<br...
WHAT THEY SAY vs. WHAT THEY DO<br />Expressed Culture vs. Observed Culture<br />Are they the same?<br />Should they be?<br />
THREE LEVELS OF CULTURE<br />Level One<br />What you might see on your first visit – first impressions<br />Level Two<br /...
BOARD<br />Broadly defines through Mission and Vision<br />
It’s the head’s role to translate and communicate that “definition” of culture. Heads do not have a choice about whether t...
The primary methods available to leaders to allow them to shape culture are:<br />Paying attention to some aspect of schoo...
AS CULTURAL LEADER…<br />If a head is consistently interested in one thing, it will become a centerpiece of school culture...
HEAD OF SCHOOL IS:<br />Symbol of Culture<br />Potter who shapes the Culture<br />Poet who uses language to describe the C...
HEAD HAS A KEY ROLE IN DETERMINING IF EXPRESSED CULTURE AND OBSERVED CULTURE MATCH<br />
ROLE OF TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS<br />Supporting Cast<br />Watchdog vs. Enablers<br />
SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET<br />Every school has skeletons<br />These skeletons become a part of the culture – good or bad<br...
ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY<br />Independent Schools as institutions most closely resemble families and churches<br />Everyone re...
WHERE DO “NEWBIES” FIT IN?<br />Good Question… “Does the Shoe Fit?”<br />Fresh Eyes<br />Broader Perspective<br />
QUESTIONS…FINAL THOUGHTS<br />
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Understanding School Culture

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School culture presentation by Linda Nelson of NCAIS at SAIS New Teacher Institute 2009.

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Transcript of "Understanding School Culture"

  1. 1. UNDERSTANDING SCHOOL CULTURE<br />Linda S. Nelson<br />Executive Director<br />North Carolina Association of Independent Schools<br />
  2. 2. Beliefs<br />Values<br />Traditions<br />Patterns of Behavior<br />Climate<br />Environment<br />“The Way We Do Things”<br />WHAT IS SCHOOL CULTURE?<br />
  3. 3. WHAT THEY SAY vs. WHAT THEY DO<br />Expressed Culture vs. Observed Culture<br />Are they the same?<br />Should they be?<br />
  4. 4. THREE LEVELS OF CULTURE<br />Level One<br />What you might see on your first visit – first impressions<br />Level Two<br />Values, beliefs, “the way things should be done”<br />These are “testable” in the physical environment<br />Level Three<br />Fundamental beliefs about school, students, etc.<br />Reason for being<br />
  5. 5. BOARD<br />Broadly defines through Mission and Vision<br />
  6. 6. It’s the head’s role to translate and communicate that “definition” of culture. Heads do not have a choice about whether they communicate; everything they do is a communication. They only have a choice about how and what and how consistently they will communicate. <br />THE HEAD OF SCHOOL IS THE CULTURAL LEADER– LIKE IT or NOT…<br />
  7. 7. The primary methods available to leaders to allow them to shape culture are:<br />Paying attention to some aspect of school life<br />Choosing to measure some aspect of school life<br />
  8. 8. AS CULTURAL LEADER…<br />If a head is consistently interested in one thing, it will become a centerpiece of school culture. If a head is inconsistently interested in many things, unclear in communicating with employees, or inconsistent in decision-making or defining priorities, people will spend a lot of time trying to figure out what’s going on. The head’s inconsistency will become a central feature of the school culture. (Understanding School Culture, Michael Thompson<br />
  9. 9. HEAD OF SCHOOL IS:<br />Symbol of Culture<br />Potter who shapes the Culture<br />Poet who uses language to describe the Culture<br />Actor who plays out the values and vision<br />Healer who presides over life transitions in the community<br />
  10. 10. HEAD HAS A KEY ROLE IN DETERMINING IF EXPRESSED CULTURE AND OBSERVED CULTURE MATCH<br />
  11. 11. ROLE OF TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS<br />Supporting Cast<br />Watchdog vs. Enablers<br />
  12. 12. SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET<br />Every school has skeletons<br />These skeletons become a part of the culture – good or bad<br />The way a community deals with these “skeletons: speaks volumes about its “culture” and commitment to self-improvement<br />
  13. 13. ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY<br />Independent Schools as institutions most closely resemble families and churches<br />Everyone related to the school has a vested interest in what is going on and has strong opinions<br />Personal and Professional lines can become blurred<br />Strategic thinking, visioning, values can quickly become “situational”<br />
  14. 14. WHERE DO “NEWBIES” FIT IN?<br />Good Question… “Does the Shoe Fit?”<br />Fresh Eyes<br />Broader Perspective<br />
  15. 15. QUESTIONS…FINAL THOUGHTS<br />
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