In my EDL 610 course, which is Visionary Leadership, we are working on building and assessing school culture. This is meant to be a reflection on the idea of a welcoming school culture and include responses to a series of guided prompts. Those prompts are:
I believe you make a difference in someone's life offering carrots rather than sticks (to borrow the title of a book we are readying for this class). That is to say, positive reinforcement and modeling the way goes a long was as opposed to punishment and negative enforcement. The key here is modeling the behavior that is expected.
My beliefs would be reflected in policies and practices in a number of ways. They would consist of coaching opportunities, reflection exercises and more, to help a scholar understand the impact of what they may have done and to see some of the other solutions that could have been used that would not have caused them harm nor harm to those involved in the situation. The same holds true to program practices and initiatives - staff need to model the behavior we expect to see, of each other and the scholars we serve. This is something I talk about heavily in my current role - a topic discussed earlier this morning actually during our Senior Management Team meeting. The idea of 'Do as I say, not as I do' does not fly with me. "Do as I do" is the correct path to follow.
I strongly believe in professional development, and allowing staff the opportunity to learn how to interact with today's youth, coupled with how to interact with today's families, will only strengthen our ability to connect, engage and model positive behavior.
We continue to change the culture of our school. We focus on the scholar, on making a positive impact on their life. We are focusing on the notion of strong customer service, of reinforcing good behavior. We are working to model the way and become role models for our scholars. I am happy with the direction we are going, and understand it may take time to complete the change in focus. My commitment is to ensure the resources are available to our staff to be able to better serve and support our scholars.
The biggest commitment is on modeling the behavior we expect to see from each other and our scholars. I am also committed to ensuring we have the proper tools and resources to support those we serve. It is also important to review and reflect our current written policies and procedures, to ask for feedback on those and make changes where appropriate. We have to be consistent with our actions, and our words. We have to best serve the unique and individual needs of our scholars, and each other.