According to veteran educator Monte White, the habits of saying please, thank you, and holding doors for people are where it all starts.
While one might pass these things off as “just having manners,” Monte sees them as the root of positive school culture and he has infused them into every school he has worked at.
Monte worked at three very different high schools in his career. One was in an urban setting where kids walked to school from the surrounding neighborhoods. The next school was in a mountain town near ski resorts, and the third was a country school with an ag program as big as the football program.
Monte taught the students and staff at each of these schools that positive culture starts with please, thank you, and holding doors for people. He taught this to his students when he was a teacher, he modeled it to his athletes when he was a coach, and he was known for it amongst his staff when he was an assistant principal.
These three straightforward acts of civility are an easy way to begin building positive school culture, no matter where your school is or what the demographic is.
As Monte can attest to, once saying “please,” “thank you,” and holding doors for people becomes the norm on a campus, genuine kindness and care will blossom.