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School culture boosts student and staff morale

Klaire Wilson

School culture is a key factor in an educational setting to ensure the best environment for students and staff. A school should be a place where students want to be especially at such a crucial developmental time in adolescents; a positive school culture matters. However, this involves both students and staff members contributing to a healthy environment, which comes from receiving the space to do that. 

If schools encompass respect and positive relationships among all school members, students are more likely to succeed. Youth Truth Survey analyzed survey data from more than 80,000 students in grades 6-12 and found that only 1 in 3 students rate their school culture positively. 

Even though the majority of educational professionals agree that school culture is an important factor that influences students’ learning, that doesn’t always happen inside the learning environments. Other factors like academic challenge or athletic programs may take priority over school culture. This can hinder students’ well-being because in order for academic and athletic programs to thrive, students must first feel a sense of respect and belonging in the building they devote a lot of their daily lives to. 

Surveying the students at Woodhaven High School, 49 out of 55 students responded moderately to highly when asked if they agree with the statement “School culture involves a collaboration between staff, students, and teachers committing to the school’s values, and goals.” Thus, demonstrating that the people responsible for a positive school climate isn’t a specific person, rather it is a group effort. 

The National School Climate Center says that one of the core components of a positive school culture is that members of the school community feel both engaged and respected.

In addition, the Harvard Graduate School of Education published an article stating “A culture will be strong or weak depending on the interactions between people in the organization.” 

People feel engaged most when they are excited about working with peers or colleagues, expectations are clear, and administration is collaborating with staff and students in a meaningful approach. 

It’s a domino effect. If teachers do not feel supported and engaged in their work, what makes you think they will be fully engaged in the classroom? Unfortunately for students, sometimes we face the effects of good or bad leadership. It is critical that schools are equipped to serve staff and students in a way that makes staff feel appreciated and students feel they have the tools and support from others to succeed in and out of the classroom. provides Four Research-Informed Approaches to Boosting Teacher Morale and Motivation with the conclusion, “Leaders must be deliberate in trying to build and maintain high levels of motivation among staff. When successful at doing this, schools become places where all individuals thrive and enjoy working.” 

Students can only contribute to the success of a positive school culture when they are provided the space to do that, and that comes from staff members cultivating a healthy environment when they feel engaged and supported by upper levels of authority. 

When asked what defines a positive school culture, Mrs. Kucharski, WHS psychology teacher says, “A school that is a place where all students feel they belong and are proud to be a part of. A place where students learn and feel fulfilled and have a great sense of well-being.” 

As students, we must take note and be aware of how school culture affects our learning and our well-being. Faculty members should support and promote a healthy school culture between each other as well as how that radiates in the classroom. School leaders need to ensure staff members are getting quality opportunities for meaningful relationships among their colleagues. If schools fail to succeed at this, students become disengaged, staff morale decreases, and the overall school deters students’ development–students who are our future leaders. If we want students in the best learning environment with the best quality educators then we must make sure educators are properly being supported so that students can be supported. By paying attention to our environment, we can celebrate the positives, and provide feedback for growth. 

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