There are so many aspects to a Principal’s job that it can feel overwhelming when thinking about what is most important to you in the sea of responsibilities, duties, and requirements. There’s community involvement, testing, instruction, discipline, and scheduling—but after 41 years as a teacher, principal, and central office administrator, my thoughts continually return to culture. So what the heck is this culture thing all about?
School culture is defined as the set of norms, values and beliefs, rituals and ceremonies, symbols and stories that make up the ‘persona’ of the school.It is our reason for the investment of our time, energy and resources. Just about every school has a mission statement, vision statement, and core values. As a principal do we visit these on a daily basis? In our conversations with stakeholders, do we hold true to these principles? Do we base our decisions on these values?
Building a culture begins with all stakeholders’ input and allegiance to the mission, vision, and core values of the building. This means we work above the line, with intention, purpose and skill. We walk the walk and talk the talk. As leaders we create the culture. The culture drives the behavior. The behavior of your building personnel is a reflection of your culture.
It’s possible that you will only have 10 percent of your team on board and committed, 80 percent who are for the most part team players but waiver and rarely give it their all, and the bottom 10 percent that are uncommitted and go through the motions. My advice, based on experience is have your top 10 percenters pull your 80 percenters to the top and forget about the bottom 10 percent. Invest your time and resources in the 80 percent to get the best return. Remember, every organization has a culture by design or default; which is it in your school? I believe our culture is aligned perfectly to the results we get. What are your results? Do you have the courage to be the leader who will build the culture necessary to get your desired results?
Build your organization on a strong cultural foundation.
~Ralph A Schade, Edwards Educational Services Consultant