Social emotional learning and school culture

After reading Chapter 4, pp. 120-144 of Breakthrough Principals, discuss application of what you learned from the reading. Include the following:

  • Your personal definition of school culture
  • Five examples of activities/practices/behaviors that are indicators of a positive school culture
  • Person(s) responsible for the culture of a school
  • Who has to “buy in” to a change in school culture and why?


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My definition of school culture is the shared beliefs and behaviors that the teachers, staff, students and parents have to develop positive learning environment for all students.  Indicators of a positive school culture are: The vision, mission and values are informed by students and staff;Adults use teachable moments and find time to reinforce and teach behaviors; Clear messages about effort leading to near and long term success are visible and vocalized by all; principal ensures that all teachers have some training and support in teaching social-emotional skills; students have opportunities to contribute ideas for school improvement.  The person responsible for establishing the culture of the school is the principal, they are responsible to convey the vision, mission and values of the school and those are what will inform the practices that will determine the culture of the school.  In the instances when change to the culture is necessary, it is vital that the principal has buy-in from all stakeholders.  The principal has to first convey the vision and plan for school culture to the administrative team and together, they decide on the actions to take using a researched base framework to help with the implementation.  The admin team will help support the teachers when the campus plan for school culture is introduced to teachers.  Teachers will have the opportunity help develop the campus values that will be used to help develop the positive behavioral intervention and supports system that will provide students with a system for celebrating appropriate student choices.  Finally, it is necessary for parents and students to buy-in to the new school culture because they have to be willing to support the rewards and consequences that students may earn.



Desravines, J., Aquino, J., & Fenton, B. (2016). Breakthrough principals: a step-by-step guide to building  stronger schools. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Brand.


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