You've got a strong leadership team and a school or district full of teachers committed to supporting a positive school culture. But how do you actually know if you're making a difference and creating a school climate focused on positive student behavior that leads to better outcomes? Get started with these four goals to which every school leader should commit in order to drive real positive change:
- Track your positivity ratio every minute of every day What is the positivity ratio? It's the ratio of positive recognition that your teachers give out compared to negative feedback. By tracking this important cultural indicator in real-time, you'll be more informed of what kind of teaching and leadership culture you're building - do you focus on the positive or the negative? Which brings us to #2...
- Increase the recognition and encouragement your teachers give for positive behavior Negative feedback tends to "stick" longer with students and it takes a lot of positive reinforcement to get a child back on track. When your teachers focus on positive feedback, your students will become more motivated and less inclined to fall off-track due to discouragement. You may even see a boost in student achievement.
- Reduce negative feedback The previous goal may seem like a pipe dream, but stick with us here. It's not as hard as you think to turn around your school's culture to focus on the positive by minimizing the negative. For example, instead of immediately doling out negative feedback to a student for speaking out of turn, go ahead and start recognizing students for remaining silent until they are called upon. Similar concept - completely different tone.
- Focus on one or two specific infractions or referrals at a time Finally, one of the ultimate benefits of a more positive school climate & culture is fewer disruptions, referrals, and infractions. We're not magicians - we do understand that this is a lot of hard work and dedication. That's why we see the successful schools as those who focus on reducing one or two specific infractions at a time. If you want to reduce office visits due to classroom outbursts, then hang up posters and have school-wide chats on the subject. You can also make visible efforts to recognize students who go above and beyond to act positively. Seeing a strong connection between not doing the negative and being recognized for the inverse sends a powerful message.
This is a great starting point - check out our free playbook 6 Steps to a Positive School Climate & Culture to get more insight into how to meet these four goals plus over fifteen pages packed with tips, research, activities, and leadership insights to help you create a sustainable, positive culture.
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