- Unquenchable desire to make things better;
- Unwavering commitment to do what one must, to change;
- Unstoppable will to try and try and try again to build a school culture that creates and sustains excellence!
(Deal, Terrence E., and Kent D. Peterson. The Principal’s Role in Shaping School Culture. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Programs for the Improvement of Practice, 1991. Print.)
Easy! Right? There’s no doubt that it takes hard work. Those three bullet-ed points boil down to staying the course with as much energy and enthusiasm as possible. Just as important (perhaps, more so!) is knowing where to focus your energy.
Begin by asking these questions:
- Do we know who we are as a school? What is our identity? What do we stand for?
- Do we share common values? What are our beliefs about students, education and learning?
- Do we face our issues head-on? Can we build unity through resolved conflicts?
- Do we ‘walk the talk‘? Does each of us model what we expect to see in others?
- Do we have stories that exemplify who we are, who we want to be and how to become that?
- Do our ceremonies, symbols and traditions illustrate and reflect our identity?
Develop a clear vision of our (your) mission. Make sure we (you) have the right people ‘on the bus’, respecting those who are better suited somewhere else. Look at ourselves (yourself) honestly and resolve disputes/conflict positively. “Be the change” we (you) want to see. Become a story-teller… of stories that sustain our (your) vision. Continually reflect on who we (you) are (as a school) and whether what we (you) say and do is aligned to who we (you) are and where we (you) are headed.
Let’s do it!