November 18, 2021

Top Tips to Achieve Team Buy-in for School-Wide Culture Systems

Simply put: without team buy-in, schools lack the energy and sustainability it takes to be successful with a school-wide culture system.
LiveSchool 101: Happy Teachers, Engaged Students, and Better Data

How do you take a behavior management strategy and elevate it into school culture? You need more than just a set of standards… you need team buy-in.

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What does team buy-in look like?

In one-word: engagement. It’s your whole team engaged in your system and contributing to make it better. You’ll know you have it when you see consistency, creativity, and excitement in your staff when you’re talking about behavior and school culture. That energy then translates to your student body in the form of real-life growth and a tighter community.

What holds back buy-in? Most of the time it’s the friction inherent in change. Schools are dynamic spaces where tradition and change are in constant tension. Introducing any new change is hard, and it’s only natural that teams may be reluctant at first.

Here are top tips from LiveSchool educators around the country on how to shorten the fear of change, and build better buy-in.

1. Make time for comprehensive training

Nobody likes using a system they don’t feel empowered to use. Comprehensive and consistent training smooths potentially bumpy transitions into new systems by accelerating the learning curve and catching any “what ifs” before they happen.

Good training helps LiveSchool users easily navigate the nuts and bolts of the platform so they can focus on the important stuff: helping kids learn.

We did a slow roll out and completed our trainings in small tidbits instead of one large, long training. For example, we did our first training during the first few weeks of school, covering topics like prepping classes, showing students, giving points. We had our next training later, which highlighted neat features, rosters and prizes. We continued to do professional development sporadically throughout the first year, calling out new features or ways to use LiveSchool. This approach kept teachers from feeling overwhelmed with the new tool.” - Anna Austin, Cabarrus County Schools

The takeaways

  • Start with an initial training on the fundamentals.
  • Follow up with a second training to go into tips, tricks, and next-order highlights.
  • Sprinkle sporadic use-case PD throughout the year.

2. Use data to reinforce your school's “why”

Transitioning, and sticking, to any new system can be a challenge. LiveSchool is committed to being user-friendly, but a user-friendly platform can still be met with hesitation.

Focus on the philosophy driving your LiveSchool program – why are you implementing a points and rewards system?

We connect our professional development around trauma informed practices, the impact of descriptive praise and our classroom management skills with the data we look at from LiveSchool to help teachers see the why behind it all. Seeing the impact their ratio data has on student outcomes has been really impactful. - Katie Elam, KIPP Nashville

LiveSchool's Insights is a great tool to highlight how consistent use of LiveSchool can create real, positive impacts for your students.

We use the Insights data a lot. We publish data every week to see who is using the platform with fidelity. We also set different focuses every single week that are aligned to our values and that help teachers know what they should be looking for when it comes to giving scholars points! - Ge’ron Tatum, Firstline Schools

The takeaways

  • Keep educators motivated by highlighting your main goals and vision for a school-wide culture system. 
  • Use LiveSchool’s Insights to give educators tangible evidence of the positive impacts of their work.

3. Optimize for team-wide decision making

As people, we feel more invested in programs we help create, so collaboration is key for gaining team buy-in.

Teachers pick what the students can buy, how much the items cost, and how they prefer to have the store run. They also have the ability to request that items and behaviors be added to the matrix. - Jan Burgess, Northgate Middle

Teachers handle the day-to-day logistics of LiveSchool in the classroom and have invaluable firsthand knowledge – their input not only shapes a more effective program, but also ensures their professional needs are met and supported.

Teachers really appreciate the autonomy LiveSchool gives them in identifying which skills they need kids to demonstrate in the classroom. They can choose a behavior they value in that moment and say ‘Today, guys, this is what I’m looking for. If you can do this for me, I can do this for you.’ - Reagan Allegri, Heritage Middle School

The takeaway

  • Collaboration gives everyone system ownership and creates a program that best reflects the needs of those using it.

Reward and celebrate teachers, too!

Let educators know their work is appreciated through exciting incentives and rewards! Recognition and compensation, whether it’s with material or experiential privileges, encourages team buy-in and boosts morale. Check out our Celebrate Teachers Toolkit for more tips on regularly sharing the love to your teachers!

We have a monthly prize for the teacher who has given the most points, and we make weekly announcements in our staff newsletter. - Melanie Mendez, St. Augustine Preparatory Academy
We award one half-day off every six weeks to the teacher who has the most LiveSchool usage. Second- and third-place teachers get extended lunch, and we provide lunch for the top six teachers. - Aja Alexander, Austin Middle School

The takeaway

  • Find creative and sustainable ways to show staff appreciation. 

In Short: Empower, Emphasize, Show Gratitude

Empower your colleagues with regular trainings and check-ins, emphasize the “why” behind your culture system, and show gratitude to teachers by celebrating their successes. A people-centered approach to team buy-in will help you build a successful school culture for both students and teachers.

Have a story about your team’s journey to total buy-in? Share it with us at @whyliveschool on twitter!

Interested in LiveSchool?

Let's chat about how LiveSchool supports your positive school culture.

Take a Tour!
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