It is interesting how social media has played such a role in the way culture is developed today. When we look at organizations, whether it is the largest companies in the world – Google, Microsoft, Cargill or school districts – Charlotte-Mecklinburg, Orange County, Florida, Iredell-Statesville, how is culture created and nurtured? How is sustained? I think that question is one that has stumped leaders for a very long time. And social media has not answered it, yet. It is only a channel for culture.
Is it the CEO, the Superintendent who creates the culture and then it trickles down to everyone else? Is it the very embodiment of the organization and what it has been for years and is just continued? Is it intentional or is it just “there”? Important questions when we look at where education is today because culture is at the heart of what the school district is, and will be. And, our belief is it should be intentional not just something that ‘has been’ or something that just ‘happens’ over time.
When we think of critical thinking for the 21st century, it cannot happen in school districts who do not clearly have a culture that believes in a different way of educating. Critical thinking skills of problem solving and decision making have to be the hallmark of everything that comes after. And the culture of the district has to embrace the importance and the necessity of critical thinking from the administration into the classroom. Having worked with a number of districts that ‘get it right’, I will say it does come from the top, but it is imbedded in the entire organization – its people and its systems. The environment nurtures the culture and creates expectations that it will be alive and well – no matter who is the Superintendent. It lives and breathes as the very heart of the district – from students, to parents, to faculty and board members. The community is proud of the culture that exists in their schools and are only too eager to support and sustain it.
Submitted by Pat Schwarber
So, as you think about the culture you are a part of in your school, your district – what exactly is it? Is it something you totally believe in and support? If not, think about what you can do to change it. If it is something that will add value to you and your school or district – remember, it truly only takes one to make a difference!!! Maybe you are the difference.