Can School Culture Fix Education?

School Culture can fix education, but we all need to come to an agreement on what exactly makes a strong, positive School Culture.
Nobody is coming. Help is not on the way. This is the tough reality in public education as we transition away from pandemic-era schooling. Most of us know it is true, yet haven’t really come to terms with it yet. A lot of us are tired, bitter, or waiting for that big switch to flip and fix it for us. It ain’t happening. If you are waiting for Politicians, Influencers, Parents, Students, or Batman to come and save the day. Stop.
Featuring 
Jordan Pruitt

We got into education because we care the most. Nobody else has it in them to fix this. But you know what? We got this. The folks who can keep us from sinking are already on the boat. We need to fix the culture that has our colleagues wanting to jump off the side though. School Culture can fix education, but we all need to come to an agreement on what exactly makes a strong, positive School Culture.

A Great Place to Work and Learn

As a former Dean of Students, I had responsibilities that ranged from School Discipline and Safety to the logistical nuances that make a school go. That is a wide scope in an industry that often silos influence into hallways, grade levels, or PLC bands. Along with a wide scope it created daily interactions with essentially everyone from students, teachers, admin, central office personnel, parents, maintenance, bus drivers, transportation dispatch, custodial crew, cafe crew, and even the occasional media outlet. 

Those thousands of daily interactions are what lured me to the profession and specifically that job, to begin with. Your building may not have a Dean but you likely have somebody who had a similar role to me. They see it all. They get to know everyone. 

I made some observations along my journey on what kind of things make for great school culture:

  1. It’s Intentional 

Great culture isn’t something you stumble into. It takes effort, and that effort is on full display for all that enter the building. Google didn’t haphazardly put up motivational signage when they created their campus. It was intentional improvements and thinking about how to create the climate or vibe that they felt their employees needed. The Cat clawing the tree limb and saying “Hang in There” isn’t going to cut it. Neither is the free pizza the first week of May.

  1. It Encourages Innovation

Schools that have great culture don’t stifle creativity. Everything doesn’t always work, but they are think tanks for innovators. If we want our students to be creative and apply skills and knowledge we had better encourage and celebrate our staff who try to do so as well! If a school's staff keeps getting plucked for promotions or asked to speak at PDs that is a really positive sign in my opinion. They hire great people, develop them,  and let them shine. What an excellent example for the kids in those schools.

  1. Learning is Everything, Learning is Everywhere, Everyone is a Learner

Learning is the business of schools. If your resources aren’t going to that end then they are misused. It has to be the guiding principle for all your choices. Will this be good or bad for learning? 

To that end, learning is way too powerful to be boxed up in classrooms alone. The best cultures find learning opportunities all over campus. Think about how you felt walking around your college campus as an undergrad, everywhere could be a classroom or a spot to study, or a spot to work together with a partner. Use your campus as a resource. Remove the invisible barriers that tell students they learn in these rooms but not over here. Learn everything you can, everywhere you can.

Learning isn’t just for kids. Great school’s house staff that love to learn from each other. They discourage silos of influence and provide opportunities for those who show aptitude to teach their colleagues. Your best resource is your staff. Treat them as such. 

  1. It’s Competitive

It is really hard to excel in anything while also being totally fine with being average. The sentence isn’t even easy to write. If you want a strong culture, you need to compete. You have to want to win. At everything. Test scores, scholarships, athletics, the arts, all of it. Win. Or at least do it all with the intent to win. Great teams often use cliches like “how you do anything, is how you do everything”. Well, they use sayings like that because they work! When you strive for excellence in the little things, it adds up.

  1. It’s a Community within the Community

Community is something that has become increasingly hard to maintain in the digital age. The pandemic did not help. But schools with a strong culture also have a sense of community. We are on a team. We have similar beliefs and values. We help each other. We protect each other. We are in this together. 

That is the most powerful observation on this list. If you want a strong culture, you need to lean into your school's ability to create and promote community. That is a rare superpower in today’s world. Don’t waste it.

Let’s Fix What We Can Fix

There is plenty of problems to be concerned about within education. Teachers deserve far more than they are getting. Disruptive behavior has really become a hurdle. The sub shortage breaks all the things. It appears we may be headed for a teacher shortage as well. 

Can we fix them all at once? Probably not. But we might as well try! Remember, nobody is coming to help! We got this!

What can we as teachers and school leaders do? We can go about creating the kind of culture that keeps quality educators in the field. We can create a culture centered around learning that promotes positive behaviors. We can create a community that other professionals want to join, maybe even to sub! 

And hopefully, we can create a culture so strong that our students take up the charge and join the next generation of great educators.

Can School Culture Fix Education?

School Culture can fix education, but we all need to come to an agreement on what exactly makes a strong, positive School Culture.
Chapter 
 | 
 🚀
 🥤

We got into education because we care the most. Nobody else has it in them to fix this. But you know what? We got this. The folks who can keep us from sinking are already on the boat. We need to fix the culture that has our colleagues wanting to jump off the side though. School Culture can fix education, but we all need to come to an agreement on what exactly makes a strong, positive School Culture.

A Great Place to Work and Learn

As a former Dean of Students, I had responsibilities that ranged from School Discipline and Safety to the logistical nuances that make a school go. That is a wide scope in an industry that often silos influence into hallways, grade levels, or PLC bands. Along with a wide scope it created daily interactions with essentially everyone from students, teachers, admin, central office personnel, parents, maintenance, bus drivers, transportation dispatch, custodial crew, cafe crew, and even the occasional media outlet. 

Those thousands of daily interactions are what lured me to the profession and specifically that job, to begin with. Your building may not have a Dean but you likely have somebody who had a similar role to me. They see it all. They get to know everyone. 

I made some observations along my journey on what kind of things make for great school culture:

  1. It’s Intentional 

Great culture isn’t something you stumble into. It takes effort, and that effort is on full display for all that enter the building. Google didn’t haphazardly put up motivational signage when they created their campus. It was intentional improvements and thinking about how to create the climate or vibe that they felt their employees needed. The Cat clawing the tree limb and saying “Hang in There” isn’t going to cut it. Neither is the free pizza the first week of May.

  1. It Encourages Innovation

Schools that have great culture don’t stifle creativity. Everything doesn’t always work, but they are think tanks for innovators. If we want our students to be creative and apply skills and knowledge we had better encourage and celebrate our staff who try to do so as well! If a school's staff keeps getting plucked for promotions or asked to speak at PDs that is a really positive sign in my opinion. They hire great people, develop them,  and let them shine. What an excellent example for the kids in those schools.

  1. Learning is Everything, Learning is Everywhere, Everyone is a Learner

Learning is the business of schools. If your resources aren’t going to that end then they are misused. It has to be the guiding principle for all your choices. Will this be good or bad for learning? 

To that end, learning is way too powerful to be boxed up in classrooms alone. The best cultures find learning opportunities all over campus. Think about how you felt walking around your college campus as an undergrad, everywhere could be a classroom or a spot to study, or a spot to work together with a partner. Use your campus as a resource. Remove the invisible barriers that tell students they learn in these rooms but not over here. Learn everything you can, everywhere you can.

Learning isn’t just for kids. Great school’s house staff that love to learn from each other. They discourage silos of influence and provide opportunities for those who show aptitude to teach their colleagues. Your best resource is your staff. Treat them as such. 

  1. It’s Competitive

It is really hard to excel in anything while also being totally fine with being average. The sentence isn’t even easy to write. If you want a strong culture, you need to compete. You have to want to win. At everything. Test scores, scholarships, athletics, the arts, all of it. Win. Or at least do it all with the intent to win. Great teams often use cliches like “how you do anything, is how you do everything”. Well, they use sayings like that because they work! When you strive for excellence in the little things, it adds up.

  1. It’s a Community within the Community

Community is something that has become increasingly hard to maintain in the digital age. The pandemic did not help. But schools with a strong culture also have a sense of community. We are on a team. We have similar beliefs and values. We help each other. We protect each other. We are in this together. 

That is the most powerful observation on this list. If you want a strong culture, you need to lean into your school's ability to create and promote community. That is a rare superpower in today’s world. Don’t waste it.

Let’s Fix What We Can Fix

There is plenty of problems to be concerned about within education. Teachers deserve far more than they are getting. Disruptive behavior has really become a hurdle. The sub shortage breaks all the things. It appears we may be headed for a teacher shortage as well. 

Can we fix them all at once? Probably not. But we might as well try! Remember, nobody is coming to help! We got this!

What can we as teachers and school leaders do? We can go about creating the kind of culture that keeps quality educators in the field. We can create a culture centered around learning that promotes positive behaviors. We can create a community that other professionals want to join, maybe even to sub! 

And hopefully, we can create a culture so strong that our students take up the charge and join the next generation of great educators.

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Can School Culture Fix Education?

School Culture can fix education, but we all need to come to an agreement on what exactly makes a strong, positive School Culture.
By 
Jordan Pruitt
 | 
September 2, 2022
Register Now

About the Event

We got into education because we care the most. Nobody else has it in them to fix this. But you know what? We got this. The folks who can keep us from sinking are already on the boat. We need to fix the culture that has our colleagues wanting to jump off the side though. School Culture can fix education, but we all need to come to an agreement on what exactly makes a strong, positive School Culture.

A Great Place to Work and Learn

As a former Dean of Students, I had responsibilities that ranged from School Discipline and Safety to the logistical nuances that make a school go. That is a wide scope in an industry that often silos influence into hallways, grade levels, or PLC bands. Along with a wide scope it created daily interactions with essentially everyone from students, teachers, admin, central office personnel, parents, maintenance, bus drivers, transportation dispatch, custodial crew, cafe crew, and even the occasional media outlet. 

Those thousands of daily interactions are what lured me to the profession and specifically that job, to begin with. Your building may not have a Dean but you likely have somebody who had a similar role to me. They see it all. They get to know everyone. 

I made some observations along my journey on what kind of things make for great school culture:

  1. It’s Intentional 

Great culture isn’t something you stumble into. It takes effort, and that effort is on full display for all that enter the building. Google didn’t haphazardly put up motivational signage when they created their campus. It was intentional improvements and thinking about how to create the climate or vibe that they felt their employees needed. The Cat clawing the tree limb and saying “Hang in There” isn’t going to cut it. Neither is the free pizza the first week of May.

  1. It Encourages Innovation

Schools that have great culture don’t stifle creativity. Everything doesn’t always work, but they are think tanks for innovators. If we want our students to be creative and apply skills and knowledge we had better encourage and celebrate our staff who try to do so as well! If a school's staff keeps getting plucked for promotions or asked to speak at PDs that is a really positive sign in my opinion. They hire great people, develop them,  and let them shine. What an excellent example for the kids in those schools.

  1. Learning is Everything, Learning is Everywhere, Everyone is a Learner

Learning is the business of schools. If your resources aren’t going to that end then they are misused. It has to be the guiding principle for all your choices. Will this be good or bad for learning? 

To that end, learning is way too powerful to be boxed up in classrooms alone. The best cultures find learning opportunities all over campus. Think about how you felt walking around your college campus as an undergrad, everywhere could be a classroom or a spot to study, or a spot to work together with a partner. Use your campus as a resource. Remove the invisible barriers that tell students they learn in these rooms but not over here. Learn everything you can, everywhere you can.

Learning isn’t just for kids. Great school’s house staff that love to learn from each other. They discourage silos of influence and provide opportunities for those who show aptitude to teach their colleagues. Your best resource is your staff. Treat them as such. 

  1. It’s Competitive

It is really hard to excel in anything while also being totally fine with being average. The sentence isn’t even easy to write. If you want a strong culture, you need to compete. You have to want to win. At everything. Test scores, scholarships, athletics, the arts, all of it. Win. Or at least do it all with the intent to win. Great teams often use cliches like “how you do anything, is how you do everything”. Well, they use sayings like that because they work! When you strive for excellence in the little things, it adds up.

  1. It’s a Community within the Community

Community is something that has become increasingly hard to maintain in the digital age. The pandemic did not help. But schools with a strong culture also have a sense of community. We are on a team. We have similar beliefs and values. We help each other. We protect each other. We are in this together. 

That is the most powerful observation on this list. If you want a strong culture, you need to lean into your school's ability to create and promote community. That is a rare superpower in today’s world. Don’t waste it.

Let’s Fix What We Can Fix

There is plenty of problems to be concerned about within education. Teachers deserve far more than they are getting. Disruptive behavior has really become a hurdle. The sub shortage breaks all the things. It appears we may be headed for a teacher shortage as well. 

Can we fix them all at once? Probably not. But we might as well try! Remember, nobody is coming to help! We got this!

What can we as teachers and school leaders do? We can go about creating the kind of culture that keeps quality educators in the field. We can create a culture centered around learning that promotes positive behaviors. We can create a community that other professionals want to join, maybe even to sub! 

And hopefully, we can create a culture so strong that our students take up the charge and join the next generation of great educators.

Register Now

About the Event

We got into education because we care the most. Nobody else has it in them to fix this. But you know what? We got this. The folks who can keep us from sinking are already on the boat. We need to fix the culture that has our colleagues wanting to jump off the side though. School Culture can fix education, but we all need to come to an agreement on what exactly makes a strong, positive School Culture.

A Great Place to Work and Learn

As a former Dean of Students, I had responsibilities that ranged from School Discipline and Safety to the logistical nuances that make a school go. That is a wide scope in an industry that often silos influence into hallways, grade levels, or PLC bands. Along with a wide scope it created daily interactions with essentially everyone from students, teachers, admin, central office personnel, parents, maintenance, bus drivers, transportation dispatch, custodial crew, cafe crew, and even the occasional media outlet. 

Those thousands of daily interactions are what lured me to the profession and specifically that job, to begin with. Your building may not have a Dean but you likely have somebody who had a similar role to me. They see it all. They get to know everyone. 

I made some observations along my journey on what kind of things make for great school culture:

  1. It’s Intentional 

Great culture isn’t something you stumble into. It takes effort, and that effort is on full display for all that enter the building. Google didn’t haphazardly put up motivational signage when they created their campus. It was intentional improvements and thinking about how to create the climate or vibe that they felt their employees needed. The Cat clawing the tree limb and saying “Hang in There” isn’t going to cut it. Neither is the free pizza the first week of May.

  1. It Encourages Innovation

Schools that have great culture don’t stifle creativity. Everything doesn’t always work, but they are think tanks for innovators. If we want our students to be creative and apply skills and knowledge we had better encourage and celebrate our staff who try to do so as well! If a school's staff keeps getting plucked for promotions or asked to speak at PDs that is a really positive sign in my opinion. They hire great people, develop them,  and let them shine. What an excellent example for the kids in those schools.

  1. Learning is Everything, Learning is Everywhere, Everyone is a Learner

Learning is the business of schools. If your resources aren’t going to that end then they are misused. It has to be the guiding principle for all your choices. Will this be good or bad for learning? 

To that end, learning is way too powerful to be boxed up in classrooms alone. The best cultures find learning opportunities all over campus. Think about how you felt walking around your college campus as an undergrad, everywhere could be a classroom or a spot to study, or a spot to work together with a partner. Use your campus as a resource. Remove the invisible barriers that tell students they learn in these rooms but not over here. Learn everything you can, everywhere you can.

Learning isn’t just for kids. Great school’s house staff that love to learn from each other. They discourage silos of influence and provide opportunities for those who show aptitude to teach their colleagues. Your best resource is your staff. Treat them as such. 

  1. It’s Competitive

It is really hard to excel in anything while also being totally fine with being average. The sentence isn’t even easy to write. If you want a strong culture, you need to compete. You have to want to win. At everything. Test scores, scholarships, athletics, the arts, all of it. Win. Or at least do it all with the intent to win. Great teams often use cliches like “how you do anything, is how you do everything”. Well, they use sayings like that because they work! When you strive for excellence in the little things, it adds up.

  1. It’s a Community within the Community

Community is something that has become increasingly hard to maintain in the digital age. The pandemic did not help. But schools with a strong culture also have a sense of community. We are on a team. We have similar beliefs and values. We help each other. We protect each other. We are in this together. 

That is the most powerful observation on this list. If you want a strong culture, you need to lean into your school's ability to create and promote community. That is a rare superpower in today’s world. Don’t waste it.

Let’s Fix What We Can Fix

There is plenty of problems to be concerned about within education. Teachers deserve far more than they are getting. Disruptive behavior has really become a hurdle. The sub shortage breaks all the things. It appears we may be headed for a teacher shortage as well. 

Can we fix them all at once? Probably not. But we might as well try! Remember, nobody is coming to help! We got this!

What can we as teachers and school leaders do? We can go about creating the kind of culture that keeps quality educators in the field. We can create a culture centered around learning that promotes positive behaviors. We can create a community that other professionals want to join, maybe even to sub! 

And hopefully, we can create a culture so strong that our students take up the charge and join the next generation of great educators.

About the Presenter

Jordan resides in Lexington, Kentucky. He has experience in Public Education as an Administrator, Science Teacher, and as a Coach. He has extensive experience with School Discipline, PBIS, SEL, Restorative Practices, MTSS, and Trauma-Informed Care.


Can School Culture Fix Education?

School Culture can fix education, but we all need to come to an agreement on what exactly makes a strong, positive School Culture.
By 
Jordan Pruitt
 | 
September 2, 2022

Nobody is coming. Help is not on the way. This is the tough reality in public education as we transition away from pandemic-era schooling. Most of us know it is true, yet haven’t really come to terms with it yet. A lot of us are tired, bitter, or waiting for that big switch to flip and fix it for us. It ain’t happening. If you are waiting for Politicians, Influencers, Parents, Students, or Batman to come and save the day. Stop.

We got into education because we care the most. Nobody else has it in them to fix this. But you know what? We got this. The folks who can keep us from sinking are already on the boat. We need to fix the culture that has our colleagues wanting to jump off the side though. School Culture can fix education, but we all need to come to an agreement on what exactly makes a strong, positive School Culture.

A Great Place to Work and Learn

As a former Dean of Students, I had responsibilities that ranged from School Discipline and Safety to the logistical nuances that make a school go. That is a wide scope in an industry that often silos influence into hallways, grade levels, or PLC bands. Along with a wide scope it created daily interactions with essentially everyone from students, teachers, admin, central office personnel, parents, maintenance, bus drivers, transportation dispatch, custodial crew, cafe crew, and even the occasional media outlet. 

Those thousands of daily interactions are what lured me to the profession and specifically that job, to begin with. Your building may not have a Dean but you likely have somebody who had a similar role to me. They see it all. They get to know everyone. 

I made some observations along my journey on what kind of things make for great school culture:

  1. It’s Intentional 

Great culture isn’t something you stumble into. It takes effort, and that effort is on full display for all that enter the building. Google didn’t haphazardly put up motivational signage when they created their campus. It was intentional improvements and thinking about how to create the climate or vibe that they felt their employees needed. The Cat clawing the tree limb and saying “Hang in There” isn’t going to cut it. Neither is the free pizza the first week of May.

  1. It Encourages Innovation

Schools that have great culture don’t stifle creativity. Everything doesn’t always work, but they are think tanks for innovators. If we want our students to be creative and apply skills and knowledge we had better encourage and celebrate our staff who try to do so as well! If a school's staff keeps getting plucked for promotions or asked to speak at PDs that is a really positive sign in my opinion. They hire great people, develop them,  and let them shine. What an excellent example for the kids in those schools.

  1. Learning is Everything, Learning is Everywhere, Everyone is a Learner

Learning is the business of schools. If your resources aren’t going to that end then they are misused. It has to be the guiding principle for all your choices. Will this be good or bad for learning? 

To that end, learning is way too powerful to be boxed up in classrooms alone. The best cultures find learning opportunities all over campus. Think about how you felt walking around your college campus as an undergrad, everywhere could be a classroom or a spot to study, or a spot to work together with a partner. Use your campus as a resource. Remove the invisible barriers that tell students they learn in these rooms but not over here. Learn everything you can, everywhere you can.

Learning isn’t just for kids. Great school’s house staff that love to learn from each other. They discourage silos of influence and provide opportunities for those who show aptitude to teach their colleagues. Your best resource is your staff. Treat them as such. 

  1. It’s Competitive

It is really hard to excel in anything while also being totally fine with being average. The sentence isn’t even easy to write. If you want a strong culture, you need to compete. You have to want to win. At everything. Test scores, scholarships, athletics, the arts, all of it. Win. Or at least do it all with the intent to win. Great teams often use cliches like “how you do anything, is how you do everything”. Well, they use sayings like that because they work! When you strive for excellence in the little things, it adds up.

  1. It’s a Community within the Community

Community is something that has become increasingly hard to maintain in the digital age. The pandemic did not help. But schools with a strong culture also have a sense of community. We are on a team. We have similar beliefs and values. We help each other. We protect each other. We are in this together. 

That is the most powerful observation on this list. If you want a strong culture, you need to lean into your school's ability to create and promote community. That is a rare superpower in today’s world. Don’t waste it.

Let’s Fix What We Can Fix

There is plenty of problems to be concerned about within education. Teachers deserve far more than they are getting. Disruptive behavior has really become a hurdle. The sub shortage breaks all the things. It appears we may be headed for a teacher shortage as well. 

Can we fix them all at once? Probably not. But we might as well try! Remember, nobody is coming to help! We got this!

What can we as teachers and school leaders do? We can go about creating the kind of culture that keeps quality educators in the field. We can create a culture centered around learning that promotes positive behaviors. We can create a community that other professionals want to join, maybe even to sub! 

And hopefully, we can create a culture so strong that our students take up the charge and join the next generation of great educators.

All Reward Ideas for Students

🎉
👑
🎁
Hat Pass
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Tech Time
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Loudspeaker Shoutout
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
School Supplies & Merch
Grades K-12
Student
Tangible
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
School Dance
Grades 9-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Extra Computer Games
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Lunch With the Teacher
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Movie Night
Grades 9-12
Student
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Class Book
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Lost & Found Fashion Show
Grades 9-12
School
Event
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Classroom DJ
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Wild ‘N Out High School Edition
Grades 9-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Graduation Celebration
Grades 6-12
School
Event
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Seating Choice
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Theme Party
Grades K-8
Class/House
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Board Game Party
Grades 3-12
Class/House
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY

All Reward Ideas for Elementary School Students

🎉
👑
🎁
Video Game Rewards
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Dance Party
Grades K-12
Student
Event
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Free Dress
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Virtual Talent Show. 🎤
Grades 3-12
Class/House
Event
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Meet the Teacher
Grades K-8
School
Event
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
School Assembly
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Play Games
Grades 6-12
Class/House
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Seating Choice
Grades K-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Trip to the Treasure Box
Grades K-5
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Trunk or Treat
Grades K-8
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Snack Party
Grades 3-12
Class/House
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
Social Media Reporter
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Partner Work
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Donate $1
Grades 3-12
Student
Privilege
Low Cost/DIY
🎉
👑
🎁
School Supplies & Merch
Grades K-12
Student
Tangible
Deluxe
🎉
👑
🎁
Art Contest
Grades 3-12
Class/House
Event
Free

All Event Ideas for Schools

💰
🎨
The A-List
💰
🎨
School Dance
💰
🎨
Movie Night
💰
🎨
Bonfire
💰
🎨
Theme Party
💰
🎨
Fake The Funk
💰
🎨
Silent Disco
💰
🎨
Kickback Vibes
💰
🎨
Game Week
💰
🎨
Final Fridays

All Free Reward Ideas for Schools

🎉
👑
🎁
Blood Drive
🎉
👑
🎁
Podcast
🎉
👑
🎁
Talk Time
🎉
👑
🎁
Homework Pass
🎉
👑
🎁
Teacher Q&A
🎉
👑
🎁
Locker Choice
🎉
👑
🎁
Lunch Concert
🎉
👑
🎁
Tech Time

All Reward Ideas for High School Students

🎉
👑
🎁
Be a Comedian.
Grades 6-12
Student
Privilege
Free
🎉
👑
🎁
Fake The Funk
Grades 9-12
School
Event
Low Cost/DIY
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Can School Culture Fix Education?

School Culture can fix education, but we all need to come to an agreement on what exactly makes a strong, positive School Culture.
By 
Jordan Pruitt
 | 
September 2, 2022

Nobody is coming. Help is not on the way. This is the tough reality in public education as we transition away from pandemic-era schooling. Most of us know it is true, yet haven’t really come to terms with it yet. A lot of us are tired, bitter, or waiting for that big switch to flip and fix it for us. It ain’t happening. If you are waiting for Politicians, Influencers, Parents, Students, or Batman to come and save the day. Stop.

We got into education because we care the most. Nobody else has it in them to fix this. But you know what? We got this. The folks who can keep us from sinking are already on the boat. We need to fix the culture that has our colleagues wanting to jump off the side though. School Culture can fix education, but we all need to come to an agreement on what exactly makes a strong, positive School Culture.

A Great Place to Work and Learn

As a former Dean of Students, I had responsibilities that ranged from School Discipline and Safety to the logistical nuances that make a school go. That is a wide scope in an industry that often silos influence into hallways, grade levels, or PLC bands. Along with a wide scope it created daily interactions with essentially everyone from students, teachers, admin, central office personnel, parents, maintenance, bus drivers, transportation dispatch, custodial crew, cafe crew, and even the occasional media outlet. 

Those thousands of daily interactions are what lured me to the profession and specifically that job, to begin with. Your building may not have a Dean but you likely have somebody who had a similar role to me. They see it all. They get to know everyone. 

I made some observations along my journey on what kind of things make for great school culture:

  1. It’s Intentional 

Great culture isn’t something you stumble into. It takes effort, and that effort is on full display for all that enter the building. Google didn’t haphazardly put up motivational signage when they created their campus. It was intentional improvements and thinking about how to create the climate or vibe that they felt their employees needed. The Cat clawing the tree limb and saying “Hang in There” isn’t going to cut it. Neither is the free pizza the first week of May.

  1. It Encourages Innovation

Schools that have great culture don’t stifle creativity. Everything doesn’t always work, but they are think tanks for innovators. If we want our students to be creative and apply skills and knowledge we had better encourage and celebrate our staff who try to do so as well! If a school's staff keeps getting plucked for promotions or asked to speak at PDs that is a really positive sign in my opinion. They hire great people, develop them,  and let them shine. What an excellent example for the kids in those schools.

  1. Learning is Everything, Learning is Everywhere, Everyone is a Learner

Learning is the business of schools. If your resources aren’t going to that end then they are misused. It has to be the guiding principle for all your choices. Will this be good or bad for learning? 

To that end, learning is way too powerful to be boxed up in classrooms alone. The best cultures find learning opportunities all over campus. Think about how you felt walking around your college campus as an undergrad, everywhere could be a classroom or a spot to study, or a spot to work together with a partner. Use your campus as a resource. Remove the invisible barriers that tell students they learn in these rooms but not over here. Learn everything you can, everywhere you can.

Learning isn’t just for kids. Great school’s house staff that love to learn from each other. They discourage silos of influence and provide opportunities for those who show aptitude to teach their colleagues. Your best resource is your staff. Treat them as such. 

  1. It’s Competitive

It is really hard to excel in anything while also being totally fine with being average. The sentence isn’t even easy to write. If you want a strong culture, you need to compete. You have to want to win. At everything. Test scores, scholarships, athletics, the arts, all of it. Win. Or at least do it all with the intent to win. Great teams often use cliches like “how you do anything, is how you do everything”. Well, they use sayings like that because they work! When you strive for excellence in the little things, it adds up.

  1. It’s a Community within the Community

Community is something that has become increasingly hard to maintain in the digital age. The pandemic did not help. But schools with a strong culture also have a sense of community. We are on a team. We have similar beliefs and values. We help each other. We protect each other. We are in this together. 

That is the most powerful observation on this list. If you want a strong culture, you need to lean into your school's ability to create and promote community. That is a rare superpower in today’s world. Don’t waste it.

Let’s Fix What We Can Fix

There is plenty of problems to be concerned about within education. Teachers deserve far more than they are getting. Disruptive behavior has really become a hurdle. The sub shortage breaks all the things. It appears we may be headed for a teacher shortage as well. 

Can we fix them all at once? Probably not. But we might as well try! Remember, nobody is coming to help! We got this!

What can we as teachers and school leaders do? We can go about creating the kind of culture that keeps quality educators in the field. We can create a culture centered around learning that promotes positive behaviors. We can create a community that other professionals want to join, maybe even to sub! 

And hopefully, we can create a culture so strong that our students take up the charge and join the next generation of great educators.

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