Have you ever visited a school that had such a healthy, positive culture that you could sense it as soon as you walked through the front door? A healthy school culture can make a world of difference for students – inspiring them to be kind, feel safe, and remain dedicated to their studies. Aside from increasing the quality of education for students, a healthy school culture can also help improve staff satisfaction and retention.
So how can schools foster a healthy school culture? It’s all about relationships. A healthy school culture starts with positive relationships between individuals and faculty members. Here’s a few ways you can start building positive relationships, and in turn, promote a healthy school culture where students and staff thrive:
1. Write a Mission Statement
A mission statement should outline the values, goals, and beliefs that are important to you. Essentially, a mission statement is the “how-to” or action plan that will help you achieve your vision. Once you’ve written a mission statement, revisit it on a regular basis and communicate it to the students to ensure they’re on-board and following it.
2. Embrace a Culture of Resilience
Students look towards school staff members as models for how to cope with setbacks and stressful times. Embrace a culture of resilience and talk often about the importance of perseverance in times of difficulty. Life is ever-changing and it’s vital for everyone to learn how to keep going when things get tough.
3. Give Everyone a Voice
Do students and their parents have the opportunity to voice concerns or give feedback to you? If not, it’s time to start making sure they do. Make sure you’re communicating often and giving others a chance to communicate with you. There should be a sense of transparency and honesty throughout all areas of the school.
4. Create a Sense of Community
Post photos of staff and students, creative quotes that represent your school’s values, and pieces of student work throughout the hallways to create a sense of community. Students and staff members will be filled with pride seeing what’s important to them throughout the building.
5. Be Clear on Rules and Expectations
A stable environment is incredibly conducive to healthy relationships. Be clear on rules and expectations so students know the standard of behavior that’s expected of them. This will help create consistency throughout the building – from the classroom to the cafeteria to the gym and everywhere in between.
6. Praise as Often as Possible
There are many kids who don’t receive positive feedback in their personal lives. It’s important to praise as often as possible. After all, those who are appreciated are more willing to go above and beyond. So make it a practice to give compliments. You’ll be surprised at the outcome.
When it comes to promoting a healthy school culture, it’s all about relationships. The school needs to be a place where students and teachers feel comfortable, respected, and safe all the time. Once you start putting the tips above into action, you’ll notice your environment change into one that’s conducive to learning and achievement for everyone.