Culture Audit Schools
Justice, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging in Schools
Why Conduct a school Culture Audit?
Your school is a community. Your teachers and administrators know what to do when something needs to change; they gather together a group to analyze data, create a plan, and initiate professional development, yet they are disappointed with little changes. Often that is because they look at behavior but may fail to take into account the overall culture of the school. More than student behavior, a school’s culture reflects the values, traditions, assumptions, as well as overall behavior patterns present in the school. Students, teachers, administrators, staff, everyone.
Unlike the school climate, school culture considers the most deeply held beliefs about school and schooling. The pressure to change a school’s culture can be uncomfortable and may produce uncertainty and unpredictability in the lives of teachers and other school personnel. To effect positive change in school culture, how it works, and how it needs to improve a school's culture may be considered by an audit. An audit asks questions about a school's beliefs and assumptions about education and is a powerful way to bring about change. Conducting a cultural audit helps assess current culture and develop a shared commitment to a high-quality education experience for every student.
There are two primary reasons to look at your current culture:
1. Your current culture seems optimistic, but you want to improve. You want to create a culture that will best support your school’s goals; understanding the contemporary culture is the first step to determine what to keep and what to change.
2. You already believe your current culture is damaged and hurting your educational efforts, and you want to take steps to understand why. Damaged cultures are characterized by negativity, complaining, underachievement, less-than-positive relationships, leadership that fails to respect people, low levels of trust, a lack of volunteerism, low contribution of discretionary energy, and usually, in reasonable economic times, high turnover.
Schools where students and staff feel they belong, where there’s respect, where they support each other’s successes, and where their talents are harnessed and celebrations are enjoyed, are places where people want to be and work, and where morale is high and staff turnover is low.
Inclusion: Are students/staff invited to actively participate in all aspects of school life?
Belonging: Belonging is a critical component of inclusion. When students/staff are genuinely included, they perceive that the school cares about them as individuals, their authentic selves. Community members should have the confidence and support to contribute their unique perspectives to all aspects of school life.
Schools can only benefit from diversity if all community members feel they genuinely belong, feel entirely safe, and have the confidence to be themselves and say what they are thinking.
How to conduct a culture audit?
A culture audit requires typically various methods to assess the current state of the culture in your organization.
To assess your culture, you can use,
• Culture walks, observation in the school; A useful way of identifying the culture of a school is to walk down the hallways.
• Culture interviews or focus groups of students/staffers;
• individual employee culture interviews;
• Culture surveys often developed internally based on collected information; and
• Commercially available instruments.
All require listening—carefully and with commitment—with both eyes and ears. We will work with you to determine the appropriate approach and components for your school based on discussion and prior experiences in your school. More damaged cultures may call for outside intervention, especially if the internal employees have little trust in their leaders. Diane Wong Consulting has a full conflict resolution team to help with this and educators to help build curriculum But even a positive culture may benefit from an outsider's outlook and observations. It is possible to overlook critical cultural components because you are too close to your situation.