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Nick Hamele

EDUL 767
Reflection: Standard 3-Culture
Wisconsin Administrator Standard 3: Culture: How do you as an administrator manage by advocating, nurturing, and
sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to a pupil learning environment?

Building a culture in our school that is positive, open, learning centered, growth oriented,
inclusive and in which everyone feels valued, cared for and encouraged is a core piece of how an
administrator can improve the lives and learning of both their students and their staff. Culture includes
how people think about their organization, how they feel about others in the organization and their
relationships with those others. Culture is built upon the past climate, history and the values and beliefs
of the community. Some influences on culture can be improved quickly through simple actions such as
making sure maintenance is done in a timely and professional manner, setting up expectations about
how people are greeted and treated when they first enter the building, and constructing and beautifying
the building and grounds from the start to be an open and inviting academic setting. Simple things such
as these set the stage for a positive culture. Culture takes time to change and build in a positive manner.
People cannot change how they think about their school, their work, their peers, or their learning
overnight. Those changes take consistent and persistent building, reinforcement and growth of the
attitudes and beliefs that we all agree we want to exist within.
For me, at its core, instructional leadership is all about building a school culture amongst the
staff and students that promotes learning as both exciting and worthy, and improvement and success for
all as the norm, not the exception. A powerful instructional leader does this first and foremost by
building and maintaining positive trusting relationships. My staff and students need to know I care
about them as individuals both in academic and personal terms. I must know my people and they need
to know me. I also need to encourage that same mutual care between my staff and students. I believe in
a balanced leadership model that is not top down, but is inclusive and collaborative. I can encourage
this not just in my leadership style but in helping to set up and nourish collaborative PLCs that have the
time and guidance to work on goals that further the success of our students. The PLCs need to feel
excited about sharing their success with other groups and seeking help when they need it-all of us are in
this together. I need to foster a sense of efficacy and appreciation in all as I work to motivate, inspire
and support both students and staff. I believe strongly in encouraging innovation and making sure
people know failure is an option, as long as we all learn and move forward from those setbacks. I will
celebrate the successes, large and small, of staff and students. I think of this in terms of positive
accountability or the idea of positive reinforcement of success and support for improvement.
There are many other more specific things that I can do to help build the culture that we desire.
A robust PBIS program will help students understand what behaviors are expected and move us towards
our ideal. A faithfully implemented RtI program will do the same on the academic side of the coin. I
will develop team building exercises on a regular recurring basis for the staff and students alike, in an
effort to build not only relationships but a sense of shared purpose and fun. I want everyone to be
excited about coming to school every day-the hours spent here should be fun, safe, nourishing and
satisfying. An educational leader is one who lives both the process and the ideals of education not only
for students but in the way they help staff become the best educator team that they can be. An
instructional leader works to embed these ideals and processes so deeply in the culture of the school that
they remain even after the leader leaves.