Creating and Maintaing a Positive School Culture

I've been thinking a lot lately about school culture and what does it really mean.  When I think about the school I teach in, I feel positive about where I work and know that although there is always room for improvement.   I'm not ready to jump ship anytime soon.  I truly couldn't imagine teaching anywhere else.

What is the culture at your school?  When new families enter your campus what does it look like and feel like to them?  If you were new to the neighborhood, would you want to send your child to your school?.  When you look around the campus and see teachers interacting with students, what does it look like?

I teach at a K-2 school.  It wasn't always K-2, in fact we have been K-6, K-5, K-3 and now K-2.  I wasn't an advocate for the drastic change, but now I am loving it.  Being a K-2 campus gives us a little more freedom to have some really fun school wide events.  I'm all about having fun in the classroom and making it expand across the grades.  I really like it when we can get our families involved too.  This year we have had 5 school-wide events so far.

  • Halloween Parade
  • Polar Express Day
  • Holiday Sing-a-long
  • 100th Day of School
  • Literacy Week

I'm hoping we will be able to plan at least one or two more before the end of the year.

When families enter our campus, I want them to see that we are more than just an institution for learning; I want them to see that we are a family.

However, creating this school atmosphere takes team-work.  Without the support of staff and parents these events would not be possible.  This time of year is especially hard.  We're in the middle of the year, fully engaged in assessments and report cards and sometimes counting down the days until Spring break.

So, how do you get everyone to have buy-in?  It takes a village to raise a child buy it takes a team to build that village.  As a staff, we have monthly luncheon pot-lucks. We have also been known to meet up after-school from time-to-time at a local watering hole.  This year we showed off our school spirit at the district bowling tournament in tutus.
positive school culture
We joined forces for Halloween to be Super Teachers
positive school culture
 We also showed off some support for our SF Giants during sports theme day.
positive school culture
I think these staff bonding times are rally important.  Work might not always feel like work if you are having fun with friends.  I truly enjoy hanging out with my co-workers we have a lot of fun when we are together.  I think the comradery shows through to the parents.  If parents see that we are in it for the kids and are enjoying our jobs then they can feel comfortable about sending their kids to school.  If families see that we as teachers like to come together and support our students, then they just might feel comfortable joining in on the fun and help us to help their child,  

I'm always looking for new ideas to bring our staff and students together.  I'd really like to hear about some of the things you do at your school site to create and maintain a positive school culture.


alwayskindergarten said...

Great post, Tiffani! Working with a supportive staff is so important. Staff morale can have such an impact on the school as a whole. I feel blessed to work with such a great group of teachers, too! (and Go Giants!)

Unknown said...

What a great post! I agree, the longer I teach the more I think about the wider picture and how important school culture is - I also spend a lot of time thinking about the importance of making sure the children go home happy. We just had a staff breakfast last week, and last year we had a small bugged allocated to allow us to have a personal trainer (for the group of us) for 4 weeks and Yoga classes for 4 weeks. It was a very successful initiative - I wish we could have it all year!

Unknown said...

budget, not bugged! :)

Sarah Paul said...

I love this post Tiffani!! I think keeping staff morale up is huge. I am super lucky to have a great team that gets along and supports each other. Letting the kids see you having fun is so important! I love all the activities you do. You school looks like a GREAT place to be! Thanks for such a thoughtful post!

Christer said...

Unfortunately, my admin focuses entirely too much on the intermediate grades. Also, testing takes precedence. Staff meeting after staff meeting is dedicated to pouring over test scores. It's a HUGE downer. But it does bring me joy to see that across the country, kiddos, specifically Primary kiddos, are getting what they need from teachers like you! A co-worker once taught at a K-2 school. She said it was the absolute best. We don't have those types of schools in my district unfortunately. I hope to one day teach at a school with a positive supportive atmosphere.

Unknown said...

Great post! I work at a school that went through a lot with old administration. New administration is great but it still doesn't feel like we are a team and it frustrates me cause it's the only school I've worked at and it's all I've experienced!!
I love my school but I wish there was something I could do to start fixing this... any suggestions?