Yesterday I attended a workshop on school culture and the presenter, Sandra Morris, shared these quotes. They are not original to her, but I was unable to locate the original person (if it’s you, please let me know so I can give you the credit you’re due!)
Healthy School Culture: “Educators have an unwavering belief in the ability of all their students to achieve success, and they pass that belief on to others in overt and covert ways. Educators create policies and procedures and adopt practices that support their belief in the ability of every student.”
Toxic School Culture: “Educators believe that student success is based on student’s level of concern, attentiveness, prior knowledge, and willingness to comply with the demands of the school, and the articulate that belief in overt and covert ways. Educators create policies and procedures and adopt practices that support their belief in the impossibility of universal achievement.”
These two quotes really hit a chord with me, and it made me wonder: What am I doing as a leader to create a healthy school culture? The other question I have to ask is, what am I doing about those people in the building who are contributing to a toxic school culture? I think this is one of those areas where just a little bit of “toxic” can destroy a whole bunch of “healthy”. As I reflect on these two more and more, it seems that so much of what we SAY we believe and do would fall under “Healthy”, yet so much of how we create the school system – particularly for minorities and poor students, falls under “toxic”.
I’m curious – could you post what you do to create that healthy culture and at the same time combat the toxic?