The climate and culture of a school building affect all aspects of educating our students. Climate and culture affect adult morale, student learning, and community involvement in our school systems. Positive and healthy climate and culture boost morale, growth, and positive interactions between the community and the schools.
These two concepts are interconnected and the relationship between them has been studied by experts in every workforce many times. Climate can be defined as the attitude of a school building. Attitudes can change quickly and be brought on by a few positive interactions among stakeholders. Culture is the personality of a school. Personalities are perceptions gathered over a lengthy period of time. The most effective schools have the best climates and cultures.
Here at Greenville High School we are committed to increasing the positive climate and culture of our building. We believe that by creating and using a shared vision, fostering a community of learners, and recognizing staff and student accomplishments, we can cultivate a school climate and culture that enhances staff, student, and community growth and morale.
Recently, Greenville City Schools has created and implemented a shared vision and mission statement. Our vision is to be the leader in educational offerings, student performance and community involvement, and to maximize the potential of each and every student. When all stakeholders share the vision, the goals, practices, within the schools are bound together and united in an effort for success. When our staff, students, and community are united to maximize every student’s potential, our climate and culture are truly positive and healthy.
Another factor in creating a positive climate and culture is the creation and support of learning communities. At Greenville High School we have created Teacher Based Teams (TBTs) for each grade level. Each grade level TBT meets once a week and collects and analyzes data on a specific project they have created for improving our school. These teams all have equal voices determining the success of our schools. This planned learning community allows the staff and students to take ownership in identifying issues within the school and the support to address and implement changes for school improvement.
One of the most important factors increasing positive climate and culture in schools is recognizing students and staff members for doing things well. By focusing on what our people are doing right, we can make a huge impact on creating a positive climate in our school buildings. Each of our schools has implemented a Positive Behavior Intervention Support system (PBIS). This allows our staff and students to focus on prevention and positives rather than punishments and negative behaviors. At Greenville High School we have increased our time on task in the classrooms and reduced our disruptions by approximately thirty percent. Our staff and students are large part of this process. Staff members report good behavior of students to the office. We take that information write it on a note and give the student the reinforced behavior and a small treat.
There are many factors that are involved in creating a positive climate and culture in a school building. By implementing a shared vision, creating and supporting learning communities, and focusing on doing things the right way we have increased the positive climate and culture of our schools. Ours students and staff are seeing the benefits in having good morale, and seeing growth in their academics and extra-curricular activities. Our school buildings have grown and improved greatly in the past few years and I am very proud of our accomplishments.