“We fought with kids and parents for three years about our dress code. We heard every argument you can imagine and most of them several times over. We fought with parents again when we told students they could not “boo” during ballgames. At times, it was exhausting.”
This is Antelope High School activities director Kristin Patten’s brief synopsis of what it takes to build school culture.
Today, Antelope High School (near Sacramento, CA) is a model of great school culture. Principal John Becker describes the process like this: “We were very clear about the culture we were creating and we knew it would take time. We just didn’t realize how exhausting it would be. But today, it is so worth it!”
Over and over, I hear school leaders describe the steps in building school culture as a 1-3-5 year process. The first year it almost always seems like there is little to no progress. Students, parents, and sometimes even the staff push back against new ideas and school leaders get used to (weary of) hearing, “but this is always how we have done it.”
Paul Lundberg, principal at Colfax High School, encountered this argument when he talked to the student council about Colfax’s traditional “Color Wars”, a competition which divided the school by classes. This tradition had gone beyond class competition and over time had devolved into bullying. At this point, it did little more than create division. Paul talked with the student leaders about building community rather than rivalry between the classes. Paul trusts that, given time, the new tradition of wearing school colors rather than class colors will take root and it won’t be long before students are claiming that wearing school colors is, “always how we have done it.”
Dr. Jared Mendenhall, a school superintendent in Broken Arrow, OK, describes the first year of building new school culture as a struggle: “We were working to simply build trust and to help people understand that we genuinely believe in community first. By the third year, people were really buying into the vision. Now, as we start our fifth year, it is so exciting! People have bought in and the momentum is thrilling. We are doing amazing things!”
HD Weddel, Principal of the Year in Oregon this past year, believes that a crucial part of building school culture is school leaders talking about the vision all the time , making it universally known on campus: “Anyone in your school community should be able to tell someone outside of the community what you are all about. It should be that clear.” HD believes that “when you get school culture right, the data will take care of itself.” You can read pramiracetam review on Nootropicaid.com