How Westminster School Promotes a Positive School Culture for Teachers, Administrators, and Students
What makes a school great? Stellar academics? Excellent extracurricular activities? Amazing teaching staff? No single aspect of a school makes it an outstanding place to learn, to grow, and to thrive. A positive school culture is the cumulative result of everything that goes into running that school. Since 1962, Westminster School has been promoting a powerful, positive school culture. Here are the four driving principles that make that culture possible.
4 Ways Schools Can Create a Positive School Culture
When you’re looking for a private school that promotes a cohesive, encompassing, positive school culture, prioritize schools that implement these four traits.
1. Takes Care of the Teachers First
Teachers are the beating heart of any school. When a school loses quality, dedicated teachers, it fundamentally erodes academic achievements, student engagement, and school culture.
Westminster School takes a very teacher-focused approach in its philosophy.
The entire administrative staff is dedicated to the idea that teachers should come first. If a school takes care of its teachers, everything else falls into place.
Teachers who are respected, given a voice, and listened to about their professional needs are able to operate effectively and productively in the classroom. That leads to happy, well-performing students. That, in turn, leads to happy parents.
Creating a positive school culture starts with a commitment to taking care of the teaching staff.
2. Invests in the Right Staff Members
A school culture is only as effective and positive as the people who are following and implementing those policies.
A key to creating a positive culture is hiring, investing in, and retaining the right administrators and teachers.
In the hiring process, that means looking for the following traits:
- Dedication to the craft
- Personality and priorities that align with the school’s culture
- Willingness and ability to live by and promote that culture for the students
Once the right talent has been identified and hired, then it’s back to that first core principle of putting teachers first. This will help ensure the school enjoys the benefits of teacher retention.
3. Has a Clear, Powerful Mission and Philosophy
No school can expect people to embody the culture if it’s not clear what that culture is.
Schools that enjoy a positive culture are those that make their mission and their philosophy explicit. They also expect that culture to be respected and upheld by all parties: students, teachers, and administrators.
When that happens, a great culture becomes evident in every aspect of the school. From curriculum and academic policies to behavioral standards, the school’s culture and expectations are clear, cohesive, and respected.
4. Prioritizes Communication
A great school culture doesn’t just happen. It’s built strategically, and it’s conveyed consistently through an effective school communications plan.
Without open lines of communication between all parties (students, teachers, administrators, and parents), a school can’t function at its best.
At its heart, creating a positive school culture is about promoting an environment where everyone involved at that school feels respected and heard. It’s about everyone buying into that culture and having a shared vision of what’s most important to accomplish at that school.
Communicating that idea clearly and consistently helps ensure that culture is upheld.
A Note on Independent Governance in Private Schools
Small private schools are uniquely positioned to create really specific, tailored school cultures because they have independent governance.
Since 1962, Westminster School has been able to offer its students a unique school culture. With their independence, the administration and leadership teams over the years have been able to commit to a unified vision of what that culture should entail.
Recreating this in a larger private school or a public school beholden to external policies becomes much more challenging.
Are You Looking for a Northern Virginia Private School with a Powerful, Positive School Culture?
The school you choose for your child is an important decision, but it’s not enough to look at academic performance alone.
A school with a great culture helps ensure every student succeeds personally, socially, and academically. Making that school decision based on a culture that aligns with your values means you’re not just enrolling in a school but entering a community.
Want to learn more about what underpins the Westminster School culture? Schedule a campus visit today.