Changing School Culture and Climate

I just finished five years as principal at what is arguably the most demanding K-9 in Calgary (Canada) when it comes to students' behavior. Many of the students come from homes of abuse, neglect and dysfunction. In my first year, I quickly expelled three students and suspended numerous others to "set the tone" for my leadership...and quickly sought alternate methods knowing that what I was doing was inherently wrong and misguided. We've spent the past two years doing a staff-wide (teachers and support staff) book study, PD, and implementation of Dr. Greene's model, with Lost At School guiding the way...with great success. In my new school, I'll continue building upon my experiences and will include the principles of the model in creating a new school culture and climate.

Building relationships and empathy takes time. But each of the 107 schools in our district now has a copy of Lost At School as part of their teacher-reference library. I applaud those of you, parents and educators alike, who are in the midst of working with behaviorally challenging children and want to give praise to the adults that I worked with for the past five years as we evolved and learned together to seek a more compassionate means of turning life around for these children. We by no means had reached them all but we had a sense of purpose and direction each day. Stay the course and struggle on...because the rewards are great in the end.