By Guest Columnist Robin Sanders, PES Principal
Promoting and sustaining a positive school culture helps breed student success. Building relationships with parents and students is currently a goal of our school, and it will continue to be a goal for the 2021-2022 school year. It is imperative that we, as educators, provide a safe and respectful environment for our students and staff. At Pelahatchie Elementary (PES) we strive to show students, parents, and staff members that we care and that every child deserves to be a part of something great. We are currently studying Jimmy Casas’ book Culturize which focuses on building and strengthening school culture. Through this staff book study, we have identified three objectives to implement for the 2021-2022 school year that will have a lasting impact on our school and community.
One goal for Pelahatchie Elementary is to ensure that all staff and students have leadership capacity both in and out of school. Casas’ belief is that everyone has the capacity to lead. It is our job as educators to bring out the unique leadership skills in each and every staff member and student. Building the capacity to lead begins with recruiting, hiring, and retaining highly qualified, diverse, and committed staff members. It is our mission to promote an environment where teachers feel valued, supported, and appreciated.
Casas spends a great deal of time on the importance of being a “champion for students.” Another area of focus is for all stakeholders in our school and community to adopt a “champion for students” mindset. Maintaining ongoing, effective communication with parents regarding student progress, developing confidence in students, and setting high expectations for students and ourselves as educators are ways we want to champion for our students.
Our third goal is to “carry the banner” for Pelahatchie Elementary. Being mindful of our words and actions greatly impacts the success of our school. Do our words inspire others for success or shame? We aim to have students and teachers constantly in a state of reflection. The power of positivity will not only generate success, but it will also impact the community. Instilling a culture of positivity starts with looking within. We will continue to provide opportunities for teachers to grow and develop their craft. Opportunities will be presented for new and veteran teachers to lead meaningful professional development, creating a culture where all teachers feel valued.
A strong, reflective culture can provide a school with the strength to carry on through the tough times. As we have reflected on this school year, if we have learned anything, it’s that every challenge is an opportunity to grow. When we begin to see potential challenges as growth opportunities, everyone benefits.