I like to think of school culture as a triangle with three significant elements. The largest layer is at the bottom and represents the core values.

Second to the core values, are the core learning outcomes to be acquired by each and every student. This middle layer is the second largest and although I don’t have the data to substantiate this, I’m thinking it is the deepest layer, too, as it embodies the dreams and efforts of all stakeholders.

To determine the core learning outcomes, I like to survey the community with regard to its values, often breaking it down into subsets of staff, parents, students and extended community. Upon correlating the data, it becomes clear what is most valued. It is simply a matter of keeping focus on that which is most important to the community.

Having followed this practice for almost every one of my 13+ years as a school administrator,  I have noticed that the following three outcomes tend to be higher up the list of priorities:

As a result of our school culture, students will understand, appreciate and exhibit:

  • Kindness
  • Respect
  • Resilience

The next step in the process, is to define what each of those outcomes looks like, feels like and sounds like. And finally, as the last step needed to achieve success, the administrator, together with the staff, students and parents, reviews them communally and individually, if not daily then for sure weekly. This review can be accomplished via posters, face-to-face encounters, memos, newsletters, prayer intentions, etc. It is fun to witness the creativity of each person in the community as he/she finds novel ways to re-iterate the same-ol’ thing!

Today’s goal: May we learn to be better servants.