Relational Culture

Author: Kristina Gaspar, Secondary Principal, Throckmorton Collegiate ISD

School culture is pivotal for the success of its students, but also for the retention of its personnel.

When thinking about school culture, the people are who establish the atmosphere. It can be a place to get an education or it can be a dynamic learning environment. Looking over my years as a principal, what I have found to be the most important aspect of school culture are the relationships we build as we focus on the multifaceted world of education.

COVID taught us all how fragile life is and its impact on education was monumental. However, from first-hand experience, I have seen how effectual relationships can improve schools and its culture – the kind of change that takes a district from IR to an A rating in a relatively short time. Relationships formed and the expectation of growth from each person – from students to staff were established.

When establishing schedules or the various expectations, questions to consider: Why do staff members travel to work in your district? Do you know if there are small children in the household? Do you know if your teachers are caring for aging parents? Do we ask questions before jumping to conclusions?  Knowing pieces of information like this and reflecting on our practices of relationship building can assist with underlying issues that may arise.  What I am referring to is getting to know each person on a personal level. Some may think this makes having hard conversations harder, but I disagree. Once you get to know a person, expectations are established, on both ends. When this is done, having hard conversations assists with greater outcomes. It builds communication, accountability and transparency.

Time is the most valuable asset we possess – why not spend it on the people who have the power to improve the school culture and transform our future? Your school culture will improve.

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