When I first began as principal, I wanted to build a culture that was focused always on the notion of “what is best for kids”. If we always started with this question, we would make better decisions for our students.
As I wanted the school to be extremely focused on our kids, I noticed that when you walked into the front foyer, they had the pictures of all the former principals at the school, and soon my picture would be added to the wall. I hated it.
If we were to be a school that focused on kids, why was the first thing that you saw when you walked into the school the principal, past and present. I decided that all of the pictures were to be taken down and replaced by pictures of current students in the building doing different activities. The change was massive! As my office was right by the front office, I noticed kids, parents, and staff all staring up at the wall, mesmerized by the pictures. We also put a TV up in front and head just a running slide show of students so we could get as many of our students shared in the front hallway. That little change and focus on them, set a tone for so many other aspects of what happened in school with students.
Sometimes we do not notice the little things in our school that are just “fixtures” on the wall but promote a very different culture of what we are trying to create. This was one of the reasons that we started this program in the first place. The idea that you could talk to someone outside of your own organization to get some different ideas and perspective on how to build a more positive culture in your leadership.
What are some of the little things that you could do or have done, to promote a more positive culture for students?
Thanks to one of my favourite principals in the world, Shauna Boyce, for inspiring this question with her recent blog post on “School Culture“.