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Transforming School Culture


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Research shows that good schools do not occur without first establishing a positive, collaborative culture. This session will examine toxic cultures and show how they can be transformed into collaborative enterprises that will propel your school forward.

Published in: Education

Transforming School Culture

  2. 2. EXPECTED OUTCOMESparticipants will learn how to transform toxic culturesinto collaborative endeavorsparticipants will analyze their current school culture andbegin the development of a plan to make it morecollaborative
  3. 3. ESSENTIAL QUESTIONWhat would a middle school look like if the culture was inviting, supportive, and safe for all stakeholders?
  4. 4. HOW BIG IS THE GORILLA IN YOUR SCHOOL?In most schools, the800 pound gorillathat impairsperformance andstifles change isCULTURE.
  5. 5. CHANGE IN THE GULCH trailblazers pioneers settlers stay at homes saboteurs
  6. 6. THREE LEVELS OF CHANGE Procedural Structural CulturalLeading School Change
  7. 7. RESISTANCE TO CHANGE• teachers who have seen similar changes fail•  new teachers who lack confidence to try something unfamiliar•  lackluster teachers who throw a wrench in the process in an attempt to derail it
  8. 8. FOUR TYPES OF TEACHERS Believers “Tweeners” “Yes we can” “I don’t know” School Culture Survivors Fundamentalists “Get me through the “No way” day”Transforming School Culture, Anthony Muhammad
  9. 9. WHERE ARE YOUR TEACHERS? Believers Tweeners ? Survivors Fundamentalists
  10. 10. FOUR TYPES OF CULTURE collaborative contrived dictator/administration rules isolatedWhere is the culture in YOUR school?
  11. 11. RATE YOUR SCHOOL CULTURE A SINGING VERSION Toxic HealthyI Can’t Get No Satisfaction Stairway to HeavenWho Let the Dogs Out? CelebrateI Will Survive We Are the Champions16 Tons Top of the WorldTake This Job and Shove It I Am a BelieverHelp! We Are FamilyHard Day’s Night The Hero Is In YouWrong AgainSend in the Clowns Lean on MeThe Sounds of Silence Ain’t No Mountain High EnoughBridge Over Troubled Waters ImagineRainy Days and Mondays One Moment in TimeEmpty Chairs at Empty Tables I’m A Believer
  12. 12. THE LOOK OF A TOXIC CULTURE negative values negative beliefs fragmented Toxic pessimistic staff destructive lack of negative integrity relationships and valuesShaping School Culture
  13. 13. HOW DO YOU CHANGE A TOXIC CULTURE? • be a role model for the change • realize that the first impression when instituting change is all important • emphasize that the change is in the best interests of the students • instill an awareness of both the existing culture and the need for change • invite teachers to be part of the change • support positive cultural elements and staff
  14. 14. HOW DO YOU CHANGE A TOXIC CULTURE?• gather support of the superstar teachers and then bring the others along• pretend almost everyone is on board• focus on recruitment, selection, and retention of effective, positive staff• focus on eradicating the negative• meet on the negativity head-on
  15. 15. HOW DO YOU CHANGE A TOXIC CULTURE?• diminish fear and apprehension• rebuild around positive norms and beliefs• consistently celebrate the positive and the possible• develop new stories of success, renewal, and accomplishment• help toxic teachers make the move to a new school
  16. 16. TRICKS TO DEALING WITH COMPLAINERS disperse their negative power do not treat them as a group realize they cannot influence the believers remember they complain EVERYWHERELeading School Change
  17. 17. TRICKS TO DEALING WITH COMPLAINERS redesign staff meeting arrangements meet with them INDIVIDUALLY to discuss plans for change do not put them in adjacent classrooms, common teams or PLC’s match them up with trailblazers and pioneersLeading School Change
  18. 18. Strong, positive school cultures result in increased student achievement and motivation Guiding Your School Community to Live a Culture of Caring and Learning
  19. 19. SHIFTING SCHOOL CULTURE FROM TO•  teaching •  learning•  teacher isolation •  collaboration•  pass/fail mindset •  elimination of failure•  compliance •  commitment•  curriculum overload •  guaranteed curriculum•  general goals •  specific goals•  static assessment •  dynamic assessment•  independence •  interdependence•  planning to plan •  planning to improve•  time and staff fixed •  learning fixed•  learning for most •  learning for all
  20. 20. BUILDING A POSITIVE CULTURE“Trust is the glue that holds a collaborative culture together.” Skillful Leader II Absence Risk- of threat taking trust Collaborative Culture
  21. 21. common understandingadjust efforts commonbased on data commitment Successful Collaboration data to monitor efficiency and performance effectiveness
  22. 22. SHAPING A SUCCESSFUL CULTURE focus on a student-centered mission and purpose strengthen positive elements of existing culture build on established traditions and values hire staff who share the values of the culture use history to fortify and sustain values and beliefsShaping School Culture
  23. 23. POWERFUL, POSITIVE CULTUREScollegialityexperimentationhigh expectationstrust and confidencetangible supportreaching out to the knowledge bases
  24. 24. POWERFUL, POSITIVE CULTURES appreciation and recognition caring, celebration, humor involvement in decision making protection of what is important honor traditions honest, open communicationButler and Dickson, 1987
  25. 25. TODAY’S PRINCIPAL •  provides an atmosphere conducive to shared decision- making and collaboration at all levels•  asks questions rather than providing answers•  facilitates the process of school improvement rather than prescribing how it should be done•  collaboratively explores alternatives to ineffective policies and practices rather than dictate the ones that will be usedThis We Believe in Action
  26. 26. TODAY’S TEACHERS•  are active leaders in the school learning community•  participate in instructional discussions within learning communities that are centered on student success•  are involved members of their teams•  seek ways to make curriculum integrative, relevant, and challenging for students
  27. 27. TODAY’S TEACHERS •  share instructional strategies to help meet individual student needs•  discuss data with their colleagues and use it to inform instruction•  share their expertise to help the school solve problems, make decisions, and set policy and directionThis We Believe in Action
  28. 28. SCHOOL RITUALS AS PART OF CULTURE coffee and doughnuts schedule RITUALS attendance dismissal
  29. 29. SCHOOL CELEBRATIONS AS PART OF CULTURECelebration is a key element in building and maintaining a positive, collaborative culture – embrace ALL partners in your celebrations
  31. 31. BUILDING A POSITIVE SCHOOL CULTURE responsibility is everyone’s
  33. 33. BIBLIOGRAPHYBarth, Roland. (2001). Learning by heart. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Burgess, Jan & Bates, Donna. (2009). Other duties as assigned. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Clark, Sally & Clark, Donald. (2008). Leadership that makes a difference. Westerville, OH: National Middle SchoolAssociation. Covey, Stephen R. (2008}. The leader in me. New York, NY: Free Press. Darling-Hammond, L. (1997). The right to learn: A blueprint for creating schools that work. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Deal, Terrence E. (1999). Shaping school culture: The heart of leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. DuFour, Richard & Eaker, Robert. (1998). Professional learning communities at work. Bloomington, IN: SolutionTree Press. Fullan, M. (1998). Leadership for the 21st century-Breaking the bonds of dependency. Educational Leadership, 55 (7),6-10. DuFour, R., DuFour, R., Eaker, R., and Karhanek, G. (2004). Whatever it takes: How professional learningcommunities respond when kids don’t learn. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press. 
  34. 34. BIBLIOGRAPHYGibbs, Jeanne. (2007). Guiding your school community to live a culture of caring and learning: The process is calledtribes. Windsor, CA: Centersource Systems.Muhammad, Anthony. (2009). Transforming school culture. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press. Peterson, Kent D. (1999). Shaping school culture. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Platt, A., Tripp, C., Fraser, R., Warnock, J., Curtis, R. (2008). The skillful leader II. Acton, MA: Ready Action Press. This we believe: Keys to educating young adolescents. (2010). Westerville, OH: National Middle School Association. This we believe in action: Implementing successful middle level schools. (2012). Westerville, OH. Association forMiddle Level Education. Whitaker, Todd. (2010). Leading school change. Larchmont, NY: Eye On Education.