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SWIFT Guide / Integrated Educational Framework / / Steps to Get You Started: Strong and Positive School Culture

Steps to Get You Started: Strong and Positive School Culture

What is this resource?Your school can take specific action steps to develop a strong and positive school culture. Click on one of the steps below to learn more about how to get started.

Why is it valuable?Follow these steps to implement this feature in your school.

Foster collaborative relationships among staff.

Schedule opportunities for your grade-level and specialized teachers to plan together and collaborate.

Schedule opportunities for co-teaching involving any two or more certified teachers, including general educators, specialized educators, and English language educators.

Create shared expectations among all educators in your school that will maximize collaborative and co-teaching partnerships. Ensure co-teachers and teams who collaborate have a clear sense of purpose, expected norms, and shared goals.

Create opportunities for your school’s co-teachers to share outcomes and reflections with the whole faculty.

Create a shared vision and set of values among stakeholders.

Seek a consensus among staff when selecting and trying out new practices.

Provide opportunities for your school staff members to define and reflect on their shared values.

Include all stakeholders in identifying a shared vision for the school. Set goals related to the vision. When new tasks or initiatives emerge, reflect on how, or if, they relate to your school's vision.

Identify ways for all staff to contribute to student outcomes.

Identify ways all your school staff members can play a role in student outcomes. For example, cafeteria, custodial, and office staff may hand out positive reinforcements for behavioral expectations such as "tickets" to make purchases from a school store.

Formalize the expectation that all your school staff members collectively contribute to student outcomes by including this expectation in all job descriptions and personnel evaluations.

Recognize the strengths of all your school staff members. For example, schedule staff appreciations days, or give staff members individual acknowledgements of how they help contribute to positive student outcomes.

Ensure all students have access to extra-curricular opportunities.

Provide the resources and supports for students, regardless of their support needs, to participate in extra-curricular opportunities. For example, ensure field trip venues are physically accessible to your student.

Demonstrate culturally responsive practices.

Assess the diversity of staff cultural knowledge and the responsiveness of school and district practices.
Use the resulting data to continuously improve your school’s culturally responsive practices. For example, you might take care not to schedule high-stakes testing on days when some students participate in religious fasting.

Provide staff professional learning opportunities or resources that support culturally responsive practices.

Create classroom communities that are understanding, respectful, and use peer strengths to maximize learning.

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