Parents look for schools that they can trust. Recent research has revealed that many Americans have lost faith in the public school system. As a result, students are foregoing their neighborhood schools launching themselves in the plethora of school choices. On the other hand, parents who are the consumers in this sector need to know what determines a good school with a healthy and high functioning learning environment. So what exactly are the signs of a great school?
While factors like a school's performance rating on state standardized tests are still valuable, test scores don’t define how great a school is. A school’s climate and culture are major determining factors especially since they affect a student’s overall performance. Check out these five marks of a healthy school culture that is conducive to learning.
Teacher Turnover Rate
A school’s teacher turnover rate is typically the biggest indicator of what kind of culture is promoted in the school’s environment. If you’ve found that there are several teachers that are choosing to leave, this is not a coincidence. Great teachers tend to jump ship for several reasons including; lack of communication with administrative leaders, poor communication and being overworked.
When teachers aren’t happy it doesn’t foster a positive learning environment. In fact, a study showed that teacher turnover has a poor effect on a student’s math and literacy scores. A revolving door of teachers also means that the student doesn’t have the opportunity to actually develop strong relationships with they're instructors.
Application of Technology
Technology has changed the face of education. A sign of a great school is its investment in technology to improve learning and teaching processes. The school should be proactive in ensuring that teachers are well trained in new applications.
School culture revolves around the constant exchange of information. From the upload of a photo from the school basketball game to a blog post about for parent-teacher night information is crucial to the school environment. That’s why school administration software is essential. A comprehensive school administration software nurtures the relationship between teachers, students, and parents.
Parent- Teacher Engagement
Parent and teacher engagement is crucial to a child’s academic success. A good school will seek to make parents a big part of the learning process. This can be through social events that are designed to encourage parents to get involved in school culture and instructors having open lines of communication with parents. In fact, a good school wants parents to be aware of what their children are learning and take measures to ensure that this possible by making the academic agenda easily accessible.
Clearly Defined Vision
An institution should be focused on working towards a clearly defined vision. There should be a concise action plan to keep the school on track to reaching that goal. Often, institutes fail to align their plans with their actions. This sends a very vague message to the parents. A school can be driven by sports, technologically advanced or academic oriented. School leaders will have to decide which direction the institute will take and stick to that specific endeavor.
Of course, a good school encourages collaboration amongst students, teachers and other staff members. In the classroom, this is done by assigning group assignments where students can work together on projects. This puts students in the position to be able to work with others and gain leadership skills.
School administration software can be really helpful in promoting collaboration between the staff and parents. School management software makes this task relatively simple though it’s applications with features like:
Instant access to student and teacher attendance records
Automated student admission
Ability to upload school notifications
The best part about using school administration software for collaboration is that everyone including students, teachers, and parents have access to it through login information.
Climate Conducive to Learning
Of course, the true mark of a quality school is that it promotes a culture that is conducive to student learning. This can be done by promoting strong staff-student relationships. What many school leaders don’t know is that this provides the basis for the school climate. When students are confident that they are liked and respected by their teachers they are more likely to succeed in their academic efforts and behaviorally as well. On the other hand, when interpersonal relationships are weak or nonexistent, it creates a feeling of distrust, fear, and failure. This will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the school’s culture.
Yes, building strong relationships with teachers, students, and staff members should be an institute's top priority. Be sure to promote positive interactions and have school leaders take a genuine interest in student lives.
A big part of having a good school climate is also clearly communicating school rules with students so that they know what is expected of them. Rules will create a stable and predictable environment that both parents and students can trust in. Policies should address behavioral expectations. It’s especially crucial to be consistent with such policies across the board to help reduce issues like bullying which is common in many schools across the country. With rules comes consequences. There should be consequences that are set in place to send the message that they're actions to have after effects. The administration should make sure that discipline is appropriate, consistent and immediate to yield positive results. When administering discipline it shouldn’t be done in anger but patience and empathy is key.
Praise and Reward System
Students that adhere to school rules and those that are excelling academically should be recognized. It one of the many ways that students can be shown that they are cared for. Positive feedback in the classroom can instill confidence especially in students who struggle academically or socially.
When teachers talk to students in a praise-heavy approach they are more likely to continue down the road of achievement. This can be done by complimenting a specific behavior which also reinforces that same behavior. Students who excel should be rewarded this can serve as an incentive to keep up the good work.