January 8, 2016 by

11 Ways to Bust a School Culture


Changing a school culture might seem like it takes a lot of effort. However, there are small steps you can take to change the perception, attitude, and behavior of your staff. In School Culture Rewired: How to Define, Assess, and Transform It, education experts Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker offer strategies for defining, assessing, and ultimately transforming a school’s culture into one that is positive, forward looking, and actively working to enrich students’ lives. They also provide a framework for pinpointing the type of culture you have, the type that you want, and the actions you need to take to bridge the two.

While determining how to define and transform your school culture, take a look at Gruenert and Whitaker’s culture-busting strategies that can help educators develop positive attitudes and behaviors at school:

  1. Ask teachers why they like snow days.
  2. Celebrate Mondays.
  3. Praise and compliment risk taking.
  4. Have fun in meetings that aren’t supposed to be fun.
  5. Ask educators why cultural change takes so long.
  6. Try new teaching methods.
  7. Visit other more effective schools
  8. Push the boundaries of culturally acceptable behaviors.
  9. Encourage the development of a subculture of your most effective teachers.
  10. Ask educators who will keep them from improving.
  11. Ask educators to explain the elephant in the room.

Want to learn more strategies for busting a school culture? Pick up a copy of School Culture Rewired.

Mary Melvin is a communications specialist at ASCD.