PowerSchool: What is a school culture plan and why do you need one?







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What is a school culture plan and why you need one

With such dramatic changes in education in recent years, school cultures have inevitably changed as well. By implementing a school culture plan and actively guiding your school culture, you cann ensure the community isdevelopmentin a positive way.

What is the difference between school culture and school climate?

School cultureand school climateare two separate but related factors in educational institutions. A school’s values, rules, beliefs, practices and expectations shape its culture. This culture is deeply rooted in a school and changes slowly, through long-term and deliberate plans. In contrast, the climate of a school is shaped by how individuals in the organization think and feel about their experience there. Climates change more quickly and easily than cultures and do not depend on strategic efforts for these changes to occur.

School culture operates at a different level than school climate. It takes thoughtful and conscious effort to change, and that change can take a long time, often over many years. If your school doesn’t have a plan to make this effort, you could be missing out on realizing your full potential as an organization. This is why you need a school culture plan.

What is a school cultural project?

A school cultural projectreflects the shared vision of all actors in the learning community. It also details concrete steps the school needs to take to begin creating or improving its current culture.

For example, if a school is experiencing significant problems with student behavior, he will want to make sure his plan includes measurable actions to encourage respectful and positive interactions. The plan could include rolling out a new rewards system where teachers can give students points which they can then redeem for items in the bookstore. Or the school may consider instituting a new disciplinary system that students and parents or guardians must agree to honor at the start of each school year.

There are two key steps to follow in developing any school culture plan:

  1. Meet your culture where it is. An honest assessment of the current culture means you can start your plan from a realistic point.
  2. Know what you want your culture to be. By establishing starting and ending points, you have created a roadmap for change.

Examples of School Culture Plans

No single school culture plan works for all schools. Likewise, not all plans are created equal. Here are some examples so you can get an idea of ​​the many options available for your school.

  1. At the Medicine & Community Health Academy (MCH) in Detroit, the school wanted to improve its graduation and attendance rates and reduce the frequency of behavioral incidents. Their projecthad a strong integration of building-wide behavioral expectations.
  2. At Princeton Community Middle School in Cincinnati, the administration wanted to increase student behaviors in the classroom, reduce expulsions from the office, reduce student lateness in class, reduce the number of out-of-school suspensions, and increase the number of teachers. written positive references. Their projectis long and granular, emphasizing the use of data-driven goals and procedures.
  3. At Cook Hill School in Wallingford, Connecticut, the school has identified its three main goals: to reduce incidents of inappropriate behavior on the school bus, to increase the level of student and parent engagement, and to improve the sense of staff to feel welcomed, supported, and safe. Their projectexplicitly names the people involved in the action steps, as well as the time period in which the tasks in the plan are to be implemented, creating accountability for everyone involved.

As with the introduction of any new plan, it is important to consider how to address the concerns of those affected. Make sure you think about your planfor collaboration and communication before its implementation.

Using data to inform practice

Note that in the sample plans above, each school strives to be data-driven while remaining student-centric. At the Academy of Medicine and Community Health, the school culture plan clearly details, data-driven strategies and tacticswhile emphasizing the importance of student expectations in contributing to the culture desired by the school.

For example, MCH publishes the following expectations: Healing, Ownership, Purpose and Commitment (HOPE), with a brief definition of each. These expectations are sandwiched between data points (graduation and attendance rates, behavioral data, etc.) and a behavior matrix common to Positive behavioral interventions and supports(PBIS). The Children’s says these steps help them “move from anecdotal to evidence-based discussions about students.”

Your learning management system (LMS)can be the hub of your school’s cultural plan. In addition to storing the plan itself, the LMS can also organize and track data and is easily accessible even if team members are meeting from multiple locations, synchronously or asynchronously.

Technology and Strategy

Edtech tools are the digital backbone of 21st century education. Yet, technology cannot simply exist for itself if you really want to improve the culture of your school or district. Your technology should support your plan, not the other way around. Technology should make it easier to collect, retain, and discuss meaningful data rather than distracting attention from your improvement efforts. Ask “what should students know and be able to do?” rather than “which LMS should we use?”

The culture of your school or district can positively or negatively affect adoption and use of technology in the classroom. Is there a culture of trust and open accessbetween the district administration, teachers and students in your school? What about in class? Are your teachers comfortable take risks and innovatein their approach? When the culture is healthy, investments in edtech can boost learning goals. When the culture is defeatist, all the technological bells and whistles in the world will not prevent programs from stagnating. Get the right strategy and plan first and let them guide your edtech decisions.

The need for flexibility

The past few years have taught us that we must always be ready and willing to change and adapt. Having a plan is essential and building flexibility into that plan means positioning yourself more strongly for success. Then, no matter what happens beyond your campus, your school’s values, expectations, and data can reflect a healthy school culture in any learning scenario.

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PowerSchool Holdings Inc. published this content on April 15, 2022 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on Apr 15, 2022 3:30:06 PM UTC.

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