CHANGES IN ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN GRADE 8
COULD BE BETTER PREDICTED FROM KNOWING
CHILDREN’S GRADE 3 SOCIAL COMPETENCE THAN
FROM THEIR GRADE 3 ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT
From Canadian Education Association paper by
KIMBERLY A. SCHONERT-REICHL AND SHELLEY HYMEL
This month’s #blogamonth theme is culture in schools. This topic is huge with many different facets, causing me to really dig deep to reflect on how school culture can be changed (change theories), why it is important (student learning), and where it fits in with most school goals. I decided to write about school culture and it’s influence on creating safer schools where all learners are supported in their challenges of school.
When I started my first position as vice-principal in a relatively large secondary school, the culture was immediately visible. Students behaved in certain ways that were different (not good or bad) than other schools that I have worked in. The culture was a result of the schools transitions through iterations of levels, the changing purposes of schools and the traditions that were steeped in the culture. I liken the culture as the underlying bedrock or foundation that is almost beyond the influence of those in the system, but affects every decision, every action that happens within the walls of the school. This is opposed to the climate of the school, which can vary as the school has it’s ups and downs, great events and tragedies that bring the community together. It’s this culture that allows for the resilience of some open system schools; where even a tragedy can be dealt with humanely and with compassion that is needed to bring healing and communities together.
Culture is what the community is built on. It helps define the school. I have been in many schools where public perceptions are based on the traditions of the school and not what is actually happening within. The same can be said for my current school. The change in the culture has been slow, but steady. This has been lead by a team of administrators, teachers, other staff and students that saw an opportunity for change (and a need) and went ahead and made a difference. The result is a school that acknowledge all learners, and cares for the students and adults in the building: a growth in the school’s social emotional learning that is encapsulated by acts of those in the building.
There is so much more to culture and supporting all learners, that another post is necessary, as I ponder more thoughts on this.