ERIC Number: ED537415
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Reference Count: 6
Changing Your School? First, Work on the Culture
Education Partnerships, Inc.
Reforming their school has become just as much an expectation for school leaders as balancing the budget, managing the operations and improving student achievement. Reform initiatives are most often launched with excitement, passion, and a pledge of unwavering administrative support, yet they frequently are short-lived and drift unnoticed into the background and quietly disappear. The sad truth is that the parts of the initiative likely disappeared from the behaviors of teachers and administrators even earlier. As the principal of an alternative high school near Kalamazoo, MI the author recently worked with his teachers and community to implement a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program. As a result of this experience he learned much about the importance of understanding his school's culture and the underlying norms and values that shaped its practice. He also identified several important lessons for other principals working to implement change in their school. Implementing any school reform initiative is difficult. School leaders who understand not only the reform but also their school's culture are more likely to have a greater chance of success. When considering the fit between the reform initiative and the school's culture, it is important to address the necessity of "unlearning" old behaviors in order to replace them with new ones, and of "undoing" established expectations and time constraints that may not support the reform.
Descriptors: Educational Change, School Culture, Principals, Nontraditional Education, Expectation, Cooperation
Education Partnerships, Inc. Web site: http://www.educationpartnerships.org
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: Education Partnerships, Inc. (EPI)
Identifiers - Location: Michigan