School culture and climate

5 Ways to Create a Supportive School Community

Guest post by Nathan Boyd

One of the most important lessons I have learned as a school principal is that children need to be in a relaxed state of mind in order to perform at their full potential. If students’ physical and emotional needs are not being met, their minds will not be ready to engage. Sounds obvious, right? Actually, creating the right conditions for students to learn is one of the biggest challenges for us as educators, because so many factors are beyond our immediate control. (more…)

Creating Culturally Responsive Schools

Guest post by Helen Gladden

Schools that strive to be culturally responsive believe that there is no one right “set” of experiences, beliefs, and values. They know that each student’s cultural set is his or her self identity. Most importantly, they understand that students are far more likely to fully engage in the learning process when their self identity is understood, accepted, and valued. They are committed to building trust with and among their students, and they know that trust is built through respect. (more…)

One School’s Approach to Developing Engaging, Healthy Student-Teacher Relationships

Guest post by Tim Carver

Increases in our socioeconomic diversity and bullying data caused us to rethink how we do business at Urbandale High School (UHS) in Urbandale, IA. We decided to develop a new approach centered around three key areas that define our culture: advisory through connections, student management through relationships and responsibility, and a focus on learning through quality and continual improvement. (more…)

Climate, Culture, and the Urban Assistant Principal

Guest post by Baruti K. Kafele

Over the years, I have found the role of the urban assistant principal to be the most intriguing role in schools. In my role as a consultant, I see this role being played out so differently in so many schools—ranging from school disciplinarian to instructional leadership, and everything in between.

I often reflect back on my own tenure as an urban middle school assistant principal, when my responsibilities were relegated to school disciplinarian, cafeteria duty, bus duty, hall monitor, and staff supply inventory clerk. (more…)