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Students help others become more proficient readers and are the editors, photographers, and writers for the school newspaper. They are engaged and energized by the school. Although learning is important, it is also important that students have fun. Activities that promote learning must also be engaging and fun, making the classroom culture a joyous one.

Everyone was encouraged to volunteer who was willing to identify a student Schools as Tribes who seemed lost or in need of some attention. The adult took the time to talk with the student, ask about his or her interests and work, listen to the student read, or just check in. Almost everyone had someone; the principal had several, the head custodian had five on his list, and the secretary, clerks, and food service workers all pitched in. Students with emotional needs or who were going through tough times had access to an adult who acknowledged that they existed, took an interest in them, and made sure they connected daily.

This invisible platoon of adults was there to help kids. The program not only helped the individual student but it also built a deep sense of purpose and commitment to children as a whole. Ganado Lore History and stories are significant cornerstones of the school culture, just as stories are a key part of Navajo culture.

Shaping School Culture: Pitfalls, Paradoxes, and Promises--Second Edition / Edition 2

Almost everyone in the Ganado community is a storyteller. They tell stories of change and renewal, celebrating the transformation of the school from one of the worst to one of the best in Arizona. They share tales of the conferences and training programs that have kept their school fueled with new ideas and innovative instructional approaches.

They spin yarns of parents once excluded who now work in the school, get their GEDs, and come to early-childhood conferences. The narratives tell of reaching goals, overcoming obstacles, and working together as a community. The social system is filled with role models and individuals who keep stories and information flowing.

One of the first school superintendents was appreciated as a special person at Ganado. A Navajo, he 29 30 Shaping School Culture had been there for thirty years and was credited with a good heart; some say perhaps he cared too much. When he visited the school, children flocked to see him and wrote to him through the school post office—and he responded. In the early years, Grandma Taliman was another character in the cultural network, and she was a foster grandparent for many children. She visited with staff and children and brought the attention, caring, and sense of legend that only the elderly can offer.

She made people feel good just by being a quiet, understanding anchor to the past and a reminder of how community values came to be. Ganado is full of heroes and heroines. Some are parents who learned to read themselves and then helped their children.

Some are staff members dedicated to becoming great teachers. Boloz, personal conversation. Sometimes they have been teachers, sometimes parents or community members. Principal Boloz is now retired from the school but remains an icon and is fondly remembered. His words, deeds, and commitment are constant reminders of the school as a beloved institution.

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Ganado also has its subcultures. The four units are tight-knit family subcultures and miniprofessional communities. Staff often have breakfast and lunch together and talk about curriculum and other educational matters. Students feel connected, cared for, and part of the school as a whole. School is another family for many. Other core norms are deeply embedded in the culture.

Kids are always at the center of decisions in the Schools as Tribes school. Knowledge is valued and the expertise and intelligence of teachers is respected and upheld. Learning by everyone is a virtue, not a requirement. Creativity and new ideas are revered resources to be nurtured. Finally, the school is considered another family for children, not as a replacement for the core family but as a place to provide continuity to caring relationships in the community.

Terrence E. Deal

Ganado did not instantaneously change from worst to first. It took twenty years of hard work, leadership, and a communal desire for something better. Ganado Primary is an example of a school possessing the necessary elements—the blueprint and building blocks—every school assembles to build a cohesive culture that gives purpose, vitality, and direction to an educational enterprise.

School cultures—no matter whom they serve—offer, like tribes and clans, deep ties among people, and the values and traditions that give meaning to everyday life. In the next chapters, we explore the elements of culture in more detail and see how culture shapes behavior, focus, and success. It makes no difference whether the school is large and urban, well funded and suburban, or poor and rural, the challenges are very similar. Unless America changes its course and focuses on meaning more than metrics, our schools will never realize their full potential.

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Meany, the middle school mascot, resembled a cross between a warlike gremlin and a grumbling troll—a rather terrifying creature. To her and others on staff, the mascot represented precisely the opposite of what she wanted the school to be—a warm, nurturing, and peaceful place. She bided her time until the Thanksgiving break. Meany to the basement. Once school resumed, she felt quite pleased with herself. No one mentioned Mr. Whenever she approached such gatherings, the conversations abruptly ended. Over Christmas she asked the custodian to come to her office.

She asked him if he had any idea what was amiss. Meany and buried him in the basement. Smith rescued him and now has him hanging on the wall of her classroom. Meaning is in the heart of the beholder. What Are Symbols? Symbols represent intangible cultural values and beliefs.

They are the outward manifestation of those things we cannot comprehend on a rational level. They are expressions of shared sentiments and sacred commitments. Symbols infuse an organization, a nation, a tribe, or a family with meaning, and they influence our thoughts, motivation, and behavior. Reynolds tobacco company used in their advertisements for Camel cigarettes.

Joe Camel was viewed by parents and the public as a prime factor in encouraging teenage smoking. One of the stipulations included in a proposed settlement with U. These symbols immediately call up images and feeling, memories and significance. Symbols in schools also are powerful elements of culture. Symbols are cultural rallying points.

They represent those intangible values and beliefs that are difficult to express. Architectural forms convey values, as do the symbols and signs that adorn walls. The Power of Symbols Symbols, as representatives of what we stand for and wish for, play a powerful role in cultural cohesion and pride. Attachment to shared symbols unifies a group and gives it direction and purpose. Tampering with important signals and signs is like playing with fire.

Review of Shaping School Culture by Terrence E. Deal & Kent D. Peterson

In designing buildings, creating displays, naming schools, or choosing logos, we must be mindful of the signals being sent. Symbols play a more prominent role in schools than many initially suspect. What is often labeled as fluff is more often the stuff of leadership and culture. Symbols and Signs—Messages and Meaning Schools have a panoply of symbols and signs scattered throughout classrooms, hallways, and gathering places. This rich mix of symbolic artifacts makes schools either meaningful sanctuaries for students and celebrations of accomplishment, or dead and empty vessels of bureaucratic control.

Some of the more obvious symbolic artifacts include the following: Mission statements. In Joyce Elementary School, messages and symbols of purpose and mission are displayed everywhere. Enlarged for easy visibility, the mission statement hangs in the main hallway. Posters exhorting students to greater achievement adorn classrooms and gymnasiums. Teachers wear school pins to communicate their belief in students. In another elementary school, the school pin worn by teachers is in the form of a frog.

It represents the transformation of frogs to princesses and princes; the school embraces transformation as its core purpose. Displays of student work. Good schools usually festoon the halls with displays of the hard work of students. Examples of student work are ubiquitous in good schools. Hallways become galleries celebrating student creativity and accomplishment. Artifacts, Architecture, and Routines Banners.

Banners exhorting students to work hard, do well, let their intelligence shine through, and excel also adorn halls of many schools. At Nativity School, they also are displayed proudly during the opening and closing ceremonies.