Schools are important! If anyone had any doubt, this past year has revealed just how important they are to millions of children of all ages. Schools can make a difference and positive schools have the power to make an even greater difference. In my work with schools over the last 15 years, I've seen the power of many positive schools in action, learned how and why they make a big impact and discovered my mission to help school leaders and educators create positive schools. The great news is that every school can choose to become a positive school and here are some principles that guide the process and why they matter.
A Positive Culture Creates Positive Results
Negativity is pervasive in our education system and unfortunately it permeates far too many schools. Negativity sabotages morale, culture, teacher performance, student learning and growth. A positive school culture weeds the negative, feeds the positive and creates an environment where teachers and students flourish. In a positive school morale is high, teachers and staff love coming to work and student performance soars. The positive culture you create drives the behavior, habits and positive results for everyone in the school community. Every student deserves to learn in a positive environment that will foster their growth and help them reach their potential and it’s our collective responsibility to do everything we can to make this possible.
Positive Leadership is the Key
When I listen to debates about ways to improve our education system, I rarely hear the most obvious and critical solution. Leadership! If we put a great school leader in every school, we would exponentially transform and improve education. Just as a great football coach takes over a new team and transforms it into a winner, a great, positive school leader creates a great culture, builds strong relationships with their staff and community, reduces negativity, inspires with vision and purpose and creates a place where educators and students thrive. A positive leader in every school would make a HUGE impact. This is why leadership training is essential and why I created positive leadership training for superintendents and principals.
Collective Teacher Efficacy and The Power of a Positive Team
Research by John Hattie has shown that the #1 factor in student achievement is Collective Teacher Efficacy. CTE is the shared belief of a school's staff that they can have a positive impact on their students' achievement. Think about the implications of this research. Because a school staff believes they can make a difference they work together to do so and as a result their students achieve success. This highlights the importance of what I've been writing and speaking about for years and why the schools my team and I have worked with experience great results. We help school leaders create a positive, connected and committed team of educators who believe and work together with their students to achieve.
Develop Student Leaders
Everyone creates the culture of a school and when students understand they are leaders with the power to lead, and learn how to lead, they become an integral part of the process and have a huge impact on your culture. It’s essential that we teach students the principles and practices and rules and tools to become positive leaders. We've found with our Energy Bus for Schools program that even elementary school aged children grasp the concepts of leadership and the importance of influencing the people around them in a positive way. And our Power of Positive Leadership Workshop for Teens that we began offering during the past year has received incredible feedback. Students learn that they have the power inside them to transform their environment and impact the world. This leads to belief and action.