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Transforming School Culture:

Culture is the most powerful force for bringing about change in a school – or any organization.

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 .

School Culture Cont…. 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 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.

School Culture is over a period of time‌ the history

Climate is now, it’s the perceptions/emotions being introduced

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

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

A Toxic School Culture Is full of Taters Dictators Commentators

Agitators Spectators 

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 

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

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


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.


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.

Changing The School Culture

Reculturing versus Restructuring


STRUCTURE Day-To-Day Policies & Procedures School Rules

CULTURE Long-Term Beliefs, Expectations, and Habits

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.

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


Thank You so much !

Transforming school-culture  

A presentation from Nepal telling of the professional way to act

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