School Climate - Building Community

If you read forums for teachers, job satisfaction surveys, or listen to conversation in the teachers’ lounge you will often hear a common theme in the complaints of teachers. Teachers who are unhappy feel unappreciated and unrecognized for their hard work. Although a raise would put a smile on teachers everywhere, this may not be possible with the current state of economics.

Have you read Malcom Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point? One of the examples he gives in his book is the NYC subway system. George L. Kelling was hired as a consultant in 1985 to test his broken windows theory. The city cleaned the subway system of graffiti. Graffiti was quickly cleaned any time it appeared. The theory was that small crimes lead to bigger crimes. Purging the subway of graffiti was the tipping point to make the NYC subway system safer. Small crimes lead to bigger crimes.

I think a few negative comments can spread quicker than 48-hour flu in a school. Soon it seems like the entire staff is infected with negativ-itis. It is possible to make teachers, staff members, and co-workers of your school feel appreciated and recognized for their hard work. The best thing is the school climate doesn't have to be the responsibility of one person in the school.

Do you think your co-workers are feeling a little stressed? Do you hear more snips and snarks than comments of appreciation? Have there been changes on your campus . . . new team members, administrators, curriculum, or expectations?

If this sounds familiar, you could be the change agent at your school. Sometimes it is the administrator, team leaders, or Sunshine Committee than plans school climate and community building events. But, one thing I have found through the years. Everyone loves a helping hand. If you step up to the plate, you will have their undying gratitude. After a few community building events, you will have a happier place to work. So, it is a win-win for everyone.

For whatever reason, I have always enjoyed planning these type of things. I know it is crazy, right?!! I have been on a social committee for my neighborhood homeowner association, a school's Sunshine Committee, and planned monthly luncheons for my daughter's middle school. Through all of these experiences, I have picked up a few tips and tricks that make putting on a luncheon for a large group a little easier.

Food brings people together, it bonds them, it is just that simple.

If at all possible it is best to plan the date of your luncheon on a day when everyone can eat lunch at the same time. Do not forget to include everyone in your school family like the custodial staff and secretaries. If you do plan the luncheon on a day when you have multiple lunch periods, set out fresh food each lunch period.

I just added a new School Climate packet that includes what you see above.

Each luncheon has a PDF that is "PRINT & GO" prefilled for your luncheon. There is also a blank signup in the EDITABLE file so you can personalize it to fit your needs. The sign is EDITABLE, too so you can add the date, time, and place.
There are also notes (6 per page) so you can write little notes of support, encouragement, thank you, and give treats. There is room that you can write a note or attach a treat.

Who doesn't love to get a little note in your mailbox? Some of these are colorful and some are black & white.
Look for the Positive is a system where staff members recognize other staff members.
This system could also be used with students. Staff members fill out a nomination about another staff member who is:

ALL HEART: A person who is kind and helpful to others.
ALL STAR: A person who shines at his or her job and goes beyond what is required.
ALL SMILES: A person who has a positive attitude and a joy to be around.
OUR TREASURE: A person who is worth his or her weight in gold.

Prizes can be whatever you want. I made these signs to hang outside classrooms to recognize teachers. I bought the supplies at Hobby Lobby. At one of my schools, the prize was a front row parking spot. That was a very popular prize!

If a luncheon seems like a bigger job than you want to tackle this year, I included monthly events that are still fun, but on a smaller scale. The signs are editable so you can add the date and time.
Click HERE find out more plus get a FREEBIE in the preview file.

Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE.
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