Tagged “School Climate”

Lora M. Hodges

High-Morale Schools: Readying Students to Take on the World

Post written by Lora M. Hodges for Northeast Foundation for Children/Responsive Classroom, a whole child partner organization.

Morale can be hard to define, but you know it when you see it. When you walk into a school and everything immediately feels calm, safe, respectful, rich with learning, you know you're standing in a school with high morale.

That's exactly how you'd feel if you were to walk in to one of the many schools in the nation using the research-based Responsive Classroom approach. You'd see and hear teachers showing patience, kindness, and respect toward each other and toward students. You'd observe engaging lessons in classrooms. Throughout the school you'd hear adults using positive language and drawing forth positive behaviors from students. You'd get the clear sense the adults like their jobs and the children want to be at school.

This is positive school culture. This is high morale. And this is indispensable to students' school success.

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David Culberhouse

Build School Morale by Attending to the 5 Cs

Morale isn't built in isolation ... and neither is it something tangible that we can point to and say, "There it is!" Rather, it is a force that builds and rises out of the ashes of our daily actions and interactions.

As educators and educational leaders, words such as data, accountability, and achievement have been ingrained into our daily vocabulary. We look for the tangible ... the visible, those things that we can monitor and measure. As educators, very seldom have we been able to avoid the words of W. Edwards Deming's famous quote, "In God we trust; all others must bring data."

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Klea Scharberg

How School Design Affects School Culture

Education Week's 2013 Quality Counts report investigated the effect of a school's social and disciplinary environment on students' ability to learn and the educators responsible for teaching them. Watch this video to explore some of the ways to configure school design to support a positive school culture. Discover how some schools are creating flexible, adaptable learning spaces that encourage collaboration and reimagine schools as student-centered communities of learners.

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Stephen Sroka

Getting to the Heart of Education: Listening to the Whole At-Risk Student

"Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all." —Aristotle

Many at-risk students in schools are crying out for help with their real-life issues, yet many educators respond with an emphasis on academic proficiency skills. With today's stress on academic achievement at all costs with little regard for the mental, social, physical, emotional, or spiritual aspects of the whole student, many teachers teach tests and not students. Students become grade-point averages and not people. And many students tune out and drop out, literally or figuratively. What do our at-risk students need? What can you do to make a difference?

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Klea Scharberg

Insights on Building School Morale

Building School Morale - ASCD Educational LeadershipTeacher morale matters. So how can schools improve it? The February 2014 issue of Educational Leadership explores why schools must become happier places for educators and how they can make it happen. Articles in this issue discuss both the reality that educators feel underappreciated and the small—or radical—changes everyone connected to schools can make to give educators reasons for optimism.

In her "Perspectives" column, Editor-in-Chief Marge Scherer notes that it's easy to list problems that contribute to low morale, but what is it that builds high morale? How do we rise above the anger and apathy engendered by simultaneously being treated as objects of distrust and being expected to change the world?

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Kit Harris, ASCD Research

ED Pulse Poll Results: What Is Most Important in Building School Morale?

ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. A recent ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll asked readers asked readers what they feel is most important in building educator morale at a school.

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Kristen Pekarek

Celebrate School Counselors This Week

National School Counseling WeekNational School Counseling Week, sponsored by whole child partner the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), is being celebrated this week, February 3–7, to focus public attention on the unique contribution professional school counselors have on students and school systems everywhere. National School Counseling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.

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Kristen Pekarek

This Week Celebrate Kindness

No Name-Calling Week 2014This week—January 20–24th—is designated as No Name-Calling Week (NNCW), an initiative of whole child partner Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) that provides students, teachers, staff, and parents with a week of resources and opportunities to show kindness and reflect on the importance of positive school climates. For the past ten years this initiative and other antibullying efforts in schools has grown enormously—the NNCW initiative now has more than 60 national partners and thousands of participants from schools all over the country.

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Melanie Olmstead

From Educator Evaluation to Empowerment

Do you worry that the rush to implement new educator evaluation systems puts excessive strain on educators and compromises the systems' effectiveness? You aren't alone. In his latest column, ASCD Executive Director Gene Carter writes that evaluating educators "must occur alongside efforts to improve school climate, raise expectations for all students, and boost family and community engagement." Read the column to see why ASCD believes all educator evaluation systems should evaluate teachers only in the subjects they teach, include multiple measures, and inform personalized professional development.

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Klea Scharberg

Have We Made Our Schools Safer?

This past weekend marked one year since the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. During this time, we read, listened to, and participated in discussions on how to keep our schools safe and secure. And also during this time, at least 25 school shootings have occurred, including Friday's shooting at Arapahoe High School in Colorado. School safety is a complicated issue with no single or simple solution.

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