Good Reads

April’s Good Read: School Culture Rewired (Steve Gruenert & Todd Whitaker)

Why is it that some schools seem to exude a tangible sense of purpose while others simply just seem to exist? Why do teachers in some schools grasp every opportunity to embrace new learning opportunities while others seem to want to grasp every opportunity to continue in dated paradigms of teaching and learning? Why are new ideas seen as opportunities in some schools but distractions in others?

The answer to these questions lies in examining the culture of the school. In this book, the authors draw from research to examine the concept of school culture and to suggest strategies which will assist school leaders in building a healthy culture in which all stakeholders benefit.

Chapters of this book include, “Culture vs Climate”, “Leadership Matters” and “Leverage Points”. What I really enjoyed about this book was the practical ideas to create engagement on culture amongst a school staff. Several charts and activities are provided to give the reader practical tools to use in their schools. I particularly enjoyed the “School Culture Typology Activity” which assesses 12 key areas of school life and asks participants to rank these as eitherToxic, Fragemented, Balkanised, Contrived Collegial, Comfortable Collegial or Collaborative. For each of these there is a descriptor which helps to position your choice. This is a really excellent tool which when will generate discussion and soul-searching!

A full chapter of the book is devoted to the School Culture Survey developed by Steve Guenert and Jerry Valentine of the Middle Level Leadership Centre. The survey is given in the book for the reader to use in his/her school and full explanation is given of each category in the survey. This is also an excellent resource for school principals wanting to get to grips with the prevailing culture in their school.

Quote from the back cover blurb:

Thought often invisible to the naked eye, a school’s culture influences everything that takes place under its roof.  Whether your school is urban or rural, prosperous or struggling, School Culture Rewired is the ultimate guide to making sure that the culture in your school is guided first and foremost by what’s best for your students.