Building a Positive Culture and Climate

In Worthington we are constantly working to improve the culture and climate of our schools and of the district as a whole. Last spring we worked with the Hanover Research Group out of Washington D.C. to survey our students, parents, and staff, regarding the culture and climate they experience in our schools. Early in August we reviewed the results of this study with our school administrators.  This fall administrators will present these results to their teaching staff and to PTA groups.  We will then partner together to make improvements in the culture and climate at each of our schools.

Academic achievement is important.  It’s the bottom line in our business.  However, we are a people business, and how people feel, and how people are treated, is very important.  Obviously, I believe it is impossible to maximize student achievement without having a positive culture and climate.  The two go hand in hand.

There are many things that happen daily in our schools that have an effect on culture and climate.  Some are intintional others not so much.  Yesterday while visiting Kilbourne Middle School I was able to witness something that says a great deal about the positive culture and climate at Kilbourne.

The video above is low quality.  It was taken by my IPhone and as a visitor I was unprepared for what was going to happen.  But, it does give you a flavor of a very cool event.  8th grade students were seated in the KMS auditorium.  As the 7th grade students arrived by class, every 8th grade student stood up and cheered and clapped.  This welcome went on as all 200 seventh grade students entered the auditorium for their first day introduction.  By their enthusiastic, middle school greeting, the 8th grade students were welcoming the 7th grade students to their shared school.  The days of hazing one another or of 8th grade students pushing 7th grade students into lockers are over.  They are one school and the 8th graders lead this effort.  In the spring the 7th graders will line up and clap the 8th graders out to high school.  Returning the favor.

What a cool welcome that sets the tone for a great school year.  Every first day of school brings nerves but in Worthington the transition from elementary school to middle school probably creates the most nerves.  Our students spend seven years in their elementary schools and create strong communities.  Moving to middle school can be scary for both students and parents.  Hopefully this type of greeting lets everyone know “we’re glad you’re here!”

This year we will work steadily to improve in many areas highlighted in the culture/climate survey.  KMS is off to a good start!

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