Leadership Moves…Positive Transformational Culture | Leading stakeholders to feel valued and capable

Positive Transformational Culture | Leading stakeholders to feel valued and capable. Pt. 1

Coherent Educational Improvement System
Coherent Educational Improvement System

As part of a coherent system, educators in many of the high-performing urban schools developed or implemented programs for creating a positive learning environment for students. Programs like Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS) played a major role in shaping the interactions of teachers and students. Teachers and students established and practiced routines that emphasized the acknowledgment of positive social behavior. Often schools employed strategies that were intended to minimize cycles of misbehavior and punishment and instead promote a deeper sense of community and shared responsibility.

Almost all of the schools established frequent (weekly, monthly, and quarterly) award programs to build a positive culture in which all students had regular opportunities to earn recognition for positive behavior, effort, or accomplishment. Some of these programs were simple and easy to administer (e.g., allowing students to visit the principal’s office when they demonstrated mastery of a complex concept) and some required more planning (e.g., award assemblies or field trips).

Additionally, all of the schools provided multiple, positive opportunities for students to engage and excel in extra-curricular activities. System elements were designed to reduce the likelihood that individual students or groups of students would feel disengaged. Before-, during-, and after-school activities provided abundant opportunities for students to explore and develop talents, experience success, and earn positive recognition. For instance, at West Manor Elementary in Atlanta, Georgia, students enjoyed a wide array of clubs that focus on hip-hop dance, gardening, journalism, technology, tennis, and drama.

Even the sense of hope was influenced systematically. Several of the high- performing urban schools used the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) Program, or similar program components, to help students and parents understand how the student could realistically pursue, attend, and succeed in college. Schools worked to establish a “college-going culture” and provided many opportunities for students to engage with current college students or recent college graduates. All of these system elements played important roles in helping the schools become more positive places for students.

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