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Tips on Developing a Positive, Academic School Environment
There is certainly much more that goes into developing a great school culture than mere advice and tips; however, I think novice and experienced school leaders can benefit from some of the things we have done in the last several years:
1. Implement the Advanced Placement Program. Although it isn't for every school, it certainly raised the bar for our students and teachers when it came academic excellence.
2. Develop an active college placement office. Sending the message that college is important goes a long way in inculcating in students, parents and teachers the importance of the college admissions process, a rigorous high school curriculum and preparation for the SAT/ACT tests.
3. Create a culture that values the free exchange of ideas with faculty. School leaders, through meetings, emails, informal discussions, etc, should lead the way in creating an environment that bolsters educational dialogue.
4. Develop an effective, but prudent instructional technology program. School leaders must acknowledge the importance of technology, but it should be tempered by proper use, ethical guidelines and effective pedagogy.
5. Be a school leader (Dean, Principal) that cherishes independence, intellectual acumen, and a passion for instruction among the teaching staff. Although hard to define and quantify, school leaders should exude a kind of leadership that prizes the intellect and the value of education; it should be sensed by students and staff.
6. Lastly, implement programs that support academics. This can include a speaker series, "job shadowing", service learning, professional development days, educational travel, book fairs, academic competitions and academic clubs.
Article posted October 27, 2011 at 11:33 AM •
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I am the Dean of Academics at a private military school in central Missouri called Missouri Military Academy.
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