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Importance of Principal for School-wide Program Success

The Importance of the Principal for School-wide Program Success

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Involved and committed school leadership is THE MOST IMPORTANT INGREDIENT for a successful school-wide approach to SEL.

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Ten years of research on factors related to successful whole-school change and improvement identifies the school leader’s engagement and active support as the single biggest predictor of whether school change efforts take hold and yield benefits to students.

~ Berends, M., Bodilly, S.J., & Kirby, S.N. (Eds.) (2002).

Facing the challenges of whole-school reform: New American schools after a decade.

Santa Monica, CA: RAND, as cited by CASEL.

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BuyIn(PptSlide)<

School-wide solutions require Principal buy-in and support.

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School culture improvement efforts (our focus) are empowered by three things of leadership:

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  • A clear focus on values, behaviors and achievements

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PerformanceFocus

  • Collective identification and prioritization of 1 to 3 specific value / behavioral shifts

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CultureRoadmap(HmnSynrgstcs)

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  • A clear alignment framework to collectively leverage your unique culture and to support your behavior shift

~For example, see The Culture Advantage.

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It is important to recognize that school culture improvement on behalf of student social-emotional skill development and enhanced academic performance is not just about implementing “another program.”

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When a school makes it a priority to help students develop the personal and social skills necessary to establish a safe school environment (a SS/HS requirement, for example), a new staff approach to learning and leadership may be required — ideally one that more reliably models these SEL skills for both colleagues and students.

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PhasesForDevelopingHighPerfCulture(Kuppler,2013)

This is about moving from a reactive to functional to collaborative to a high performance culture.  Participants learn to work more constructively with, rather than sometimes (perhaps unwittingly) against each other.

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School-wide SEL is a win-win-win-win:

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  • Students get their needs met, are more engaged, and learn more.

  • Teachers win, too.  They are free to teach with fewer disruptions.

  • Parents and community members win as more pro-socially active, skilled, and capable members enter into our civic community.

  • Administrators are more at peace.

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School administrators are among the stakeholders most responsible for creating a school culture that supports change.

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