School Culture Reflects What We Celebrate, Ignore, and Anticipate

Update for Mar 2-6

This weekend, Alton Darby Elementary hosted our annual Family Fun Day.  This was another new experience for me in my first year with this community.  My understanding is that this has been a tradition for at least 10 years.  In fact, one family has volunteered to help organize the event each of the last 10 years.

The event was a lot of fun and it was a great opportunity for the community to come together.  It also made me reflect on some of the thoughts and ideas I’ve been reading about in a book called School Culture Rewired: How to Define, Assess, and Transform It by Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker.

The combination of my experience with Family Fun Day this weekend and one line from the book really made me reflect on our school’s culture:

“Culture conveys to its members what they ought to celebrate, ignore, and anticipate.” (Gruenert & Whitaker, 2015)
Celebrate — What are the traditions, the moments, and the events we look forward to each year?  Why are they important to the community?  Family Fun Day reminds me that we need to look forward to fun throughout the year.  What we did for International Dot Day was an amazing way to celebrate a budding collaboration with our closest neighbor, Darby Creek Elementary.  What’s important to the culture of our community is what we celebrate.

Ignore — This is a turbulent time for public education.  There are many positive changes taking place as well as a lot distractions that potentially take our focus off of the important work we do for kids.  It’s a challenge to ignore what doesn’t matter to the work we do. But our culture reflects what we choose to put our focus on.  So shouldn’t we focus on what matters and ignore the rest?

Anticipate — What excites kids so that they can’t wait to come to school?  What increases engagement among teachers, parents and students?  Our Kids’ EdCamps, while a ton of work, have been the moments this year that parents bring up the most when I ask about how they think the school year has gone so far.  How can we continue to connect teachers’ passions to students’ interests?

A school’s culture is so important to its success. Therefore, it’s important that we celebrate what we feel represents what we stand for, ignore what distracts us from the work we do for kids, and anticipate what’s possible for our learning community.

Articles Worth Reading

“Emergent Workplaces: Learning in the Networked Worker”

“Learning LittleBits” via @jackiegerstein

Upcoming Dates

Mar 2
Beef O’Brady’s Spirit Night, 5-9pm

Mar 3
PARCC Math –  3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade
Building Improvement Team meeting, 8am
Last day to enter data into Progress Reports (midnight)

Mar 4
PARCC Math – 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade
Spring Flower Sale Begins
Special Ed Team meeting, 12:30

Mar 5
Admin meeting (Herb), 8am

Mar 6
BAC meeting, 8am

Mar 9
PTO Meeting, 7pm

Mar 10
4th Grade Social Studies State Assessment
5th Grade Science State Assessment

Mar 11
ADE/DCR Staff Meeting, 3:35pm

Mar 14

Mar 16
Last Day for Spring Flower Sale Orders

Mar 17
Admin Meeting (Herb), 9:30
Teacher Steering Committee Meeting, 3:40

Mar 19
Class/Group/Staff Pictures
Admin Meeting (Herb), 8am
Mar 20
Spring Flower Sale Money due

Mar 22-27
Spring Break

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