As the individual that students and staff look to for guidance, the school principal is in a unique position to shape a school’s climate. The leadership that a principal provides is critical to both teacher retention and student success.
If you’re a principal seeking to create a positive school climate, you know how daunting that task can feel. How can you be the leader that your school needs?
How a Principal Helps to Create Climate
Fortunately, one of the best ways to build a positive school climate is by implementing a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) like PBIS. However, implementing PBIS is just the beginning. The school principal can help build success with PBIS when they:
Are A Passionate Leader
A leader who is emotionally invested in the wellbeing of his or her staff can be a powerful force. The excitement of someone establishing a path forward is hard to ignore, and that excitement can be contagious amongst staff and students alike. Buy-in often begins at the top. An administrator who demonstrates a remarkably positive attitude about a PBIS program will undoubtedly start the journey for their entire school community on the right foot. Show your entire school your passion!
Make It All About Student Success
Investing in students through social-emotional learning does more than improve academic success. In the long-term, SEL strives to improve self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making in your students. Additionally, schools that include SEL as part of their curriculum are not only helping to educate academically, they are helping future employees develop critical soft skills. Share with your school how PBIS will benefit your students!
Know Best Practices
Implementing PBIS can feel like a daunting task. Successful PBIS initiatives require commitment to several critical elements and an understanding of how they all work together. An effective leader must have a working knowledge of PBIS, in general, and some specific reasons why they think it is right for their school. Some important basics to know and share with your school include:
- the practices within PBIS have been used successfully in schools and documented in research literature since the 1980s
- the PBIS framework is visible in all 50 states at all levels, PreK through high school
- schools using PBIS experience reductions in discipline infractions, aggressive behaviors, reported bullying behavior, and teacher turnover
- PBIS typically leads to improvements in academic engagement and achievement
- PBIS helps to improve organizational health and school safety as well as perceptions of school climate
Ensure Job Satisfaction
Your teachers are essential when it comes to building a successful and positive school climate. The challenges of daily classroom life can lead to burnout, even among your most dedicated staff members. It’s important to consistently recognize teachers for the efforts they put forth all year long.
When you recognize and celebrate your teachers regularly throughout the school year, you give them the motivation to keep going, even when things aren’t perfect. Here are five ways to continually celebrate your teachers:
- Recognize Their Efforts – genuine praise and tangibles are often cherished and appreciated
- Proclaim Their Accomplishments – dedicate some wall space outside the office
- Acknowledge Your Superstars – give a weekly recognition of your awesome PBIS initiative folks
- Reward Them With Food – no one will turn down a free meal or meal gift card
- Praise Their Commitment – show your support in a tangible way through Workplace Rewards for Teachers
Leadership Builds School Climate
School leadership can take many different forms, but it is the principal’s responsibility to be a transformational leader. As administrators, school principals help to improve the educational experience for students and staff alike. Each leader has his or her own style, of course, but a school environment where teachers and students flourish often has a capable leader at the helm.
Student success depends largely on the development of a positive school climate, in which each student learns and grows academically, socially, and emotionally. The role of the principal in such a climate cannot be overlooked.