At Be Monsterful, we believe that culture is a reflection of people, environment, beliefs, and actions. These elements combine to define culture as “the way things are done around here.” Although many schools may share similarities, each school has its own unique culture because people and their surroundings are always distinctive.
Creating an environment for learning both virtually and in-person requires that we wholeheartedly accept the diversity among our school, working together to bridge the different perspectives towards a single objective: giving our students and faculty the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.
In order to foster a culture that embodies our school’s vision, we must first identify our current state, and then determine the goals and objectives the school community hopes to achieve. It is essential that every action taken in maximizing this vision is consistent with it; therefore, school procedures, routines, and expectations must be in alignment with the vision.
Communication is essential for us to understand the perspectives of all stakeholders. To ensure a successful exchange of perspectives, we have undertaken a variety of measures. Professional Learning Communities are at the top of the list; through them, we have been able to share our professional insights and strategies, network, and gain mutual trust. We have also used perception surveys, issue bins, open-door policies, and focus groups to further promote the exchange of perspectives.
All of these help us to facilitate the second hallmark: buy-in.
Be Monsterful’s community encompasses individuals both within and outside of the organization. Valuing everyone's input is essential for gaining their commitment to the cause. Our school's culture is strengthened by students, teachers, parents, local community members, and other stakeholders who share the same mission. We are dedicated to hearing out each stakeholder's insights and applying them to the organization accordingly. Furthermore, all stakeholders receive prompt feedback to assure them of how much their contributions are appreciated.
One important way in which this input contributes to our progress is by helping us to create an action plan of how each company member can assist in propelling the company and community forward. This plan is formed by adhering to the third hallmark of the school: expectations.
At our school, we not only value the ideas of our community members, but we invite them to be actively involved. Everyone has a unique contribution to make—even if it is not immediately evident—so each individual is given a role. To make sure our goals are met, we outline measurable and realistic expectations and benchmarks, determine how they will be evaluated and appoint key support personnel. Furthermore, we look to external resources, such as local students, entrepreneurs and civic leaders, to provide expertise and resources that will be beneficial in cultivating the culture we strive to achieve. None of this, however, can be fulfilled without our fourth hallmark: leadership.
The success of Be Monsterful relies on the dedication of its respected and dependable leadership team. This team must not only demonstrate knowledge and expertise in their work, but demonstrate genuine care for the students, teachers, and parents they are supporting, and earn their trust. Furthermore, they must gain the trust and respect of external stakeholders, to ensure they are upholding the values and deploying resources with wisdom. Our leaders will set the example, showing a passion for learning, and making decisions that are beneficial for all students. This passion should be visible in all interactions, meetings, correspondences, and events. To ensure the highest standards, our leadership team will provide feedback and constructive redirection when needed, while constantly assessing and monitoring expectations.
The failure of any person or team to remain dedicated to the cause can have a negative impact, meaning everyone else must work harder to make up for it to ensure success.
Improving our school’s culture
To help cultivate our school’s culture, regardless of where we may be, we:
Seek both input and feedback on school issues, challenges, and concerns, and maintain a candid, clear, and constructive dialogue.
Allow everyone a voice, and listen to what they say. Validate their input and respect diverse points of view.
Keep the focus on students in every way. Remind everyone that they are “our students” and that this is “our school.” Individually, we are good, collectively, we are great!
Rationalise and justify decisions in order for all to understand the reasoning.
Assess, analyse, implement, and tweak. Improvement is continuous and circular, without really having a defined beginning or end.
Ensure ongoing support for every individual and every need.
Encourage and hold everyone accountable.
Celebrate successes then set future goals.
We cannot alter what has already happened, but we can strive to have an effect on the upcoming future. The students in our school are the ones who will shape that future. A vital part of our mission is to demonstrate to them the kind of world they can create. Instead of waiting until tomorrow to start transforming our school’s environment, we will begin now.