Gary Phillips characterizes school culture as the, "beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that characterize a school in terms of how people treat and feel about each other; the extent to which people feel included and appreciated, and the rituals and traditions reflecting collaboration and collegiality." (1993)
Culture, therefore, includes a combination of the values, rituals, and beliefs shared and demonstrated by participants within the school. Everything educators do and believe in constitutes the culture of a school. School culture involves proper communication; it encompasses good values and beliefs. This is reflected in the school’s customs, artifacts, ceremonies, and stories. The school culture has the power to revitalize the school improvement process. According to Ronald Barth …
“The school culture is a complex pattern of norms, attitudes, beliefs, traditions and myths that are deeply ingrained in the very core of the organization. A school’s culture has far more influence on life and learning in the schoolhouse than the state department of education, the superintendent, the school board or even the principal can ever have.” (Barth, 2002, p. 7).
How does my school embrace good cultural practices? First, by adopting a mission statement that reflects its vision. The school mission statement states:
We all come from different cultures, backgrounds, religions and economic levels; however, we are all joined by one mission of achieving a well-rounded education that will help us make a positive contribution to society. I then tried to find out the mission statement was framed, and discovered that it spelt out, in one sentence, the vision and the goals of the founders of the school. What was their vision? What were these goals? A vision is a mental image of what is important to the organization and its individuals.
• Increase student achievement by challenging each student to reach his/her highest potential
• Provide the professional staff with the knowledge, skills, resources and freedom to actualize the vision
• Measure student progress by determining the academic distance traveled by each student.
• maintain a good students – teacher ratio
• maintain an disciplined educational environment that promotes self-discipline and social responsibility;
• foster a knowledge and understanding of the heritage of the students and the city in which they live;
• develop and implement specialized educational programs and innovative curriculum for students with special needs
• build self-confidence that will help students throughout their lives
In order to support and achieve these goals, the school hoped to obtain the volunteer services of parents and members of the community. That the school fostered a good culture was evidenced by the following:
The annual passing out ceremony of the fourth grade is done with zest and dedication. The students are recognized for their merit, with extra points for full attendance and...