Monday, January 30, 2012

Leading change begins with understanding your school's culture and climate.

I have learned this the hard way over the years.  It can be real easy to jump to the next big thing in this profession.  As educators we are often in the search of the silver bullet to cure our ills.  Be wary of implementing change without first understanding your schools culture and climate.  Research shows that a healthy school climate leads to increased student achievement and fewer drop outs.

Scott Norton (2008) says, "In a healthy organization, challenges are addressed, solutions to problems are found, and new methods and innovations are initiated."  (p. 244) Healthy school climates allow for collaboration and the sharing of ideas.  In these schools, leaders do not discourage disagreement they encourage it.  Dealing with conflict and encouraging it leads to innovation.

"Conflict and controversy can be helpful in leading to preferred solutions." - Scott Norton (2008)

According to Norton (2008) three major factors influence climate in schools.

  1. Leadership 
  2. Collegiality of the faculty 
  3. Student discipline 
So before you begin implementing change, take the first steps and get to know your schools culture and climate.

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