Tagged “School Staff Wellness”

Jeffrey Benson

Four Frames for Principals, New and Experienced

I was working with an elementary principal. One of the school's 3rd grade classes had given him a list of responsibilities they assumed formed his job. He showed me the list and chuckled, until he got to an item that he said made him shudder far more than smile: "You fix everything."

That overwhelming mandate contains a big piece of the truth: almost everything that happens in the school is ultimately the responsibility of the principal. What is equally valid is the reality that one person cannot know everything, be everywhere, prevent all problems, and fix everything.

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Bring Yourself to Work Every Day to Build Trust, Morale, and Culture

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Educators working in a positive school culture experience collegiality, trust, and tangible support as leaders and peers, creating an environment where there are high expectations, involvement in decision making, and open communication. Students entering a positive school culture feel safe, engaged, and connected and see school as a place where they can learn and contribute to the world around them. A positive school culture—morale—is the cornerstone of a good school and the foundation for school improvement.

School cultures should support, reinforce, and reflect the well-being of everyone in it, ensuring that students and adults feel valued, respected, and cared for and are motivated to learn, lead, and teach. In this episode, we take a look at how we build school morale so that administrators, teachers, students, and parents are energized and positive about learning. You'll hear from

  • Dave Burgess, award-winning U.S. history teacher at West Hills High School in San Diego, California; semi-professional magician; highly sought-after professional development speaker; and author of Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator;
  • David Culberhouse, former teacher and principal of a California Distinguished School, currently senior director of elementary education for the Rialto Unified School District in southern California and co-moderator of the West Coast #satchat, weekly Twitter discussions about education and leadership held Saturday mornings;
  • Joe Mazza, former teacher, principal, and technology integration coach, currently project manager for Connected Teaching, Learning, and Leadership in the North Penn School District in Lansdale, Pennsylvania; innovation coach at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education; and producer of #ptchat, another weekly Twitter chat—this one for transparent and collaborative dialogue between parents, family engagement practitioners, and teachers—held Wednesday nights; and
  • Angela Hamilton, assistant principal, and Eric Russo, special education co-teacher who specializes in reading and language arts, at Drew Freeman Middle School of Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland. Drew Freeman is a member of ASCD's Whole Child Network of Schools and is in its second year of a three-year, comprehensive school improvement process using the tenets of the Whole Child Initiative—healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged—as a sustainable whole child approach to educating their students.

Connect with us @WholeChildASCD and our guests Dave Burgess @burgessdave, David Culberhouse @DCulberhouse, Joe Mazza @Joe_Mazza, Angela Hamilton @Ahamilton1994, and Eric Russo @erusso78 on Twitter.

What is the link between school morale and learning?

Kevin Scott

Everything Is Not Always Awesome, But It Can Be

A positive school culture is critical to the success of any school. As educators, we know that staying positive in the wake of planning, paperwork, meetings, grading, and all of the other administrative tasks is tough, especially when we got into this business because we love to work with students. It takes more effort than simply "putting on a happy face," as the musical number goes. The bigger question is always, "How do you do it?"

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Klea Scharberg

Throughout February and March: Building School Morale

Educators working in a positive school culture experience collegiality, trust, and tangible support as leaders and peers, creating an environment where there are high expectations, involvement in decision making, and open communication. Students entering a positive school culture feel safe, engaged, and connected and see school as a place where they can learn and contribute to the world around them. A positive school culture—morale—is the cornerstone of a good school and the foundation for school improvement.

School cultures should support, reinforce, and reflect the well-being of everyone in it, ensuring that students and adults feel valued, respected, and cared for and are motivated to learn, lead, and teach. Join us throughout February and March as we discuss how to build school morale so that administrators, teachers, students, and parents are energized and positive about learning. What practices build morale; empower leaders; and promote trust, mutual respect, and celebration? How can the demands of accountability and high expectations be realized without affecting a positive culture?

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Klea Scharberg

Insights on Building School Morale

Building School Morale - ASCD Educational LeadershipFebruary 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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Start Empathy

Empathy? An Ethos Born in the Staffroom

Post written by Vinciane Rycroft for Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative, a whole child partner organization. Originally published in the Times Educational Supplement Pro.

Girl Reading Ian, aged 8, throws his younger brother Robin on the ground. Tears and screaming. It's the fifth or sixth time already today. (I'm strong; I'm superman!) Both of them have just lost their mother after two years of a very painful illness. As educators, we witness this very human story again and again, every day. It shows clearly the process of bullying. How do we respond?

Daniel Favre is a teacher, teacher trainer, and professor in both neuroscience and education. His work studies the process of youth violence. It also shows how supporting teachers in cultivating empathy can break the cycle of youth violence and improve maths results. His 50-hour programme trains educators to minimise students' fear of learning and dogmatic perceptions. Regardless of their subject, teachers learn six different skills: to clearly distinguish error and fault when giving feedback to students, encourage emotional literacy, facilitate team work, emphasize our common humanity, establish a nonviolent mode of authority, and strong personal listening skills and empathy.

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Chuck Bloch

Reflecting on Technology

I am a school principal. And I turned 50 recently. I know, it's just a number, but on watershed moments like these I find myself a bit more reflective than normal. Among many things, I have been thinking about how things have changed in my working life. I taught in the classroom for 11 years and have been in administration for 15 years now, and I can honestly say that it has been a great career so far. So many great people to work with and for, so many great kids and families, so many successes ... and an ever-increasing supply of technology to help me do my job. Technology has allowed me to enjoy access to support, instant and improved communication systems, information and professional development, motivating teaching strategies, and so on.

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Paula Mirk

Set an Authentic and Respectful Tone at the Top

"Tone at the Top" is a key research finding from our Schools of Integrity research project, so we know the vital part leadership plays in the process of building school cultures. Having worked frequently with great school principals who are deliberate and responsible about that role, there are specific qualities we now look for in leadership at our participating Ethical Literacy schools.

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Mark Hyatt

Leaders Must Earn Their Stripes Every Day

As a former Air Force squadron commander and Vice Commandant of the U.S. Air Force Academy, believe me, I had already been through a lifetime's worth of leadership training when I moved into the civilian sector as a K–12 school superintendent in 2002. Looking back, however, I must admit that the most challenging leadership issues I have ever faced easily occurred in the last decade.

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Sean Slade

Safer Schools for Living, Growing, and Learning

Often when people talk about the basics of education, they refer to the three Rs: reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic. However, an even more foundational aspect to educating students is ensuring that schools are safe.

If a school isn't a safe place, then it can't be a school as we know it—a place to learn and grow. If a school isn't a safe place, it becomes reactive to incidents, and teaching and learning become a secondary or forgotten imperative.

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