One thing I have learned during my time in education is the importance of creating a positive school culture. A principal sets the tone for the school’s culture by the way he/she interacts with the students, parents, and staff. Being visible, having positive interactions with kids, and creating memorable moments are all important components that contribute to a positive culture. Talking with students, staff, and parents builds personal connections, and overall, makes the school a fun place to be. Work is fun at Woodbury. I love going to work because the environment is positive and laughter is constantly heard in the halls. This is because of our principal’s focus on Woodbury’s culture. On our first day back from fall break, the principal and I walked around with a selfie stick and took photos with the kids. It was the highlight of the week, if not the year! Students LOVED it, teachers joined in on the fun, and parents enjoyed the photos on Facebook. Who would have thought a selfie stick could add to a positive school culture.
I have learned from our principal’s actions and see the tremendous payoff of the time he spends being visible. I went to a presentation at CUE on 21st Century Leadership. The speaker was a former high school principal (Michael Niehoff) and his belief was that a principal shouldn’t be in their office before noon. He didn’t schedule appointments before noon or work on anything that required him to sit at his computer before noon. He would be readily available via radio or e-mail and would read and answer e-mails from his phone. During this time, his primary focus was being visible, being in classrooms, interacting with students, and just being a part of the school’s daily events. He would tweet, Instagram, and Facebook snapshots of fun moments, great teaching, and student accomplishments. An article I read titled, 3 Reasons Why the School Principal Needs to Tweet , the author said they “envision every school principal with smartphone in hand, anxious to send out the next tweet” because they have the “ability to say what they want and show the world how amazing they are.” We are always looking for “amazing” things to share and it has become part of our regular routine – looking for amazing things and being a part of them. We may not tweet every amazing event, but memorable moments are being made for the students and strong relationships are being built with parents and staff.