School Culture Survey
In the process of improving schools we must address school culture and its relationship to school improvement. Stephen Gruenert and Jerry Valentine's research (University of Missouri-Columbia), as well as other school culture research, concludes that improving how adults in a school work together improves student learning. School leaders must explore what relationships are like, how things are done, and what matters most in their schools. With the use of a quality measurement, school leaders can see the reality of adult working relationships within their schools. Then school leadership teams can use the data to gain insights and improve their school culture.
With the permission of Valentine and Gruenert, the WVDE is able to provide a research-based School Culture Survey for its schools. This instrument assesses the culture of a school. With the data from this survey, school leaders can begin to understand the present status of their school's culture, particularly the collaborative nature of their culture. Given time and concerted effort, leaders can assess changes in their school culture. This insight should be valuable as school leaders work to create a highly effective school for their students.
Using the School Culture Survey: To maximize the benefit from the survey data, we ask that schools first contact either the Office of School Improvement or their RESA before introducing the use of the culture survey to the entire school staff. We find it imperative that a trained WVDE or RESA staff member work with each school through this process. We will need to debrief with schools to understand the limitations and implications of the data.
For additional assistance, contact Nancy Cline, firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-558-3199 ext. 53021.
To learn more about the research and recommended best practices, the Office of School Improvement recommends reading Shaping School Culture : Pitfalls, Paradoxes, and Promises and using the Fieldbook, .
School Culture Typology
School Culture Typology is a self-reflective tool and related activity designed to identify a school-wide perspective of the “type” of culture that exists in a school. The typology tool was first developed in 1997 based upon the work of Fullan and Hargreaves (1996) as a hands-on, practical method of defining for discussion purposes a school’s stage or type of culture. The activity was revised in 2000, reflecting the work of Deal and Peterson (1999) and again revised slightly in 2006. To complete the activity, teachers assign point values to statements that are “most descriptive” of their school from a series of statements representing twelve elements of school culture.