positive school culture

“Do You See Me?” The Power of Student Connections

Positive connections between students, teachers, administrators, and school community lead to academic success and a balanced education. To reach their potential, it is integral that children connect to at least one person in their school community. This connection needs to exist within a safe and stable environment, providing opportunities for these relationships to strengthen and grow. The middle level leader plays a key role in fostering these important components of success. (more…)

Bringing Light to a Dark Month

Darkness, cold weather, and a continued lack of daylight can bring the winter blues to many of us. While February is considered the shortest month of the year, for some it seems to be the longest; students and staff are longing for warmer weather, increased daylight, and spring break! (more…)

Character Education: It’s Not Something Added to The Plate. It Is the Plate

It was my first year teaching, and I was tidying up my classroom. I picked up trash under a desk and threw it away. The next day I noticed more trash under a desk. I watched for several days as the culprit would place trash under his desk and then leave it.  The next day, when my classroom offender got up to leave, once again leaving trash on the floor, I stopped him and asked him why he would leave his trash, he stated, “Oh, that’s the janitor’s job.” (more…)

Making Everyone Happy: The Unreal Mindset of a School Leader

Being a leader means that you have to make decisions, and in my five years as an assistant principal, I have gradually come to accept the fact that not everyone is going to like the decisions that I have to make. Here is my story in a nutshell along with three key criteria I have developed that help me make sound decisions for my school, while dealing better with the inevitable complaints. (more…)

Kindness in Motion: Providing Students Opportunities to Serve Others

Empowering students to serve others through acts of kindness is something we at Regional School District No. 7 in Connecticut strive to do through a program called Kindness in Motion. The inspiration for this program came four years ago when our superintendent, Judy Palmer, saw a program on CBS Sunday Morning about Chris Rosati, a great man who—despite having ALS—dedicated the rest of his life to spreading kindness before he passed away in 2017. (more…)

What Are You Grateful for this Thanksgiving?

One of my teachers sent the following email to our staff. The subject line was: “A Thanksgiving Thought.” With his permission, I am posting it below in its entirety: (more…)

Make the Most of Your Next Staff Meeting

Do you dread staff meetings as the principal? Does your staff audibly groan when you discuss policy changes or district minutia? Do you see your teachers watching the clock and counting down the minutes until they can leave? A few years ago, staff meetings at Harrisburg South Middle School were just this way, tedious gatherings that both the staff and I wished would just end as soon as possible. (more…)

Setting Collaborative Teaching Expectations for Student Success

Like many schools, Sparks High School wanted to implement collaborative, co-taught classes with the goal of providing a supportive learning environment for all students to achieve. Each of our collaborative classes in language arts, social studies, math, and science was designed to include a content-area teacher and an intervention specialist or English Learner teacher who would work in tandem to lead course instruction and student learning. (more…)

Building Positive School Culture Through Senior Interviews

Guest post by Chuck Rinkes

When I became principal of River View High School (RVHS) in 2007, our building met the academic excellence standards, and our community was pleased by our high ranking. But despite these achievements, neither our superintendent nor I were happy with the overall building culture. We witnessed unhealthy interactions between our stakeholders, students expressed negative feelings about our school, and there was an overall sense of stress and anxiety amongst the staff. In order to rise to the next level and become a great school, we needed to improve our overall culture. (more…)

What’s the Forecast in Your School?

I am agnostic when it comes to weather. I acknowledge that it exists. But I don’t favor any one season. Some people like winter, some like summer. Each season offers unique rewards. I experience weather, but I have no great affinity for one climate over another. (more…)