The Main Office Can Tell You a Lot About a School’s Culture. Here’s What Should Happen When a Parent Walks In.

If you have ever been into a Chick-fil-A restaurant, you know how welcomed you feel when you walk into the door. That’s the exact same feeling that children, parents and guests should have when they walk into a school.

The main office is the first place that guests come to; it’s the welcome and information center. It’s where you go when you’re lost, need help or information. It also sets the tone for the building. If there’s not a lot of signage, a sitting area, a parent or information corner, then this sends a message that we don’t want you to stay long or ask questions.

On the flip side, entering a main office that has a nice sitting area, a showcase of parent offerings, and a log book to collect feedback and information, sends a clear message that you are welcomed here and that your opinion counts.

Negative energy produces negative results.

School culture plays a significant role in the success of the students, school and families. School culture determines how the mission and vision of the school is carried out, how parents are engaged, how students character is developed and most importantly how children will learn and perform. If the atmosphere of a school is tense and stressed, it’s reflected in teachers and staff interactions with children, parents and each other.

In my experience, school’s that have welcoming environments have healthy school cultures and perform better.

Culture and climate are the heartbeat of a school. It’s what elevates academic, social and recreational success. You can tell when there’s an enriching culture at a school when the excitement of the teachers spills over into the kids. School is a safe haven for children within the community. I would like to think that the school’s culture and climate are also a reflection of the leadership. The leader sets the tone for the atmosphere which is seen through how teaching and learning occurs.

Here’s how can you tell if a school is intentional about producing a safe, welcoming and productive culture.

  1. The entrance and waiting area is well lit and inviting.
  2. Communication is consistent and transparent.
  3. Engagement is intentional and purposed.
  4. Teachers and staff are celebrated.
  5. Innovation is encouraged.

Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.

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