Once a school’s climate and culture have been evaluated and areas in need of improvement identified, a strategy must be developed and implemented to realize these needed changes. As an educational leader, you will be asked to improve a school or school district’s climate and culture. For this task, reflect on your critique of your school’s climate and culture from assignment 6, and then develop a plan to address each of your identified areas in need of improvement. Within your plan, be sure to describe:
- The identified weakness within your school’s climate and culture,
- Your strategy for improvement,
- What the school climate and culture would emulate once the improvement was successful, and
- How you would work to maintain the existence of each improvement.School Climate and Culture
Dr. Christine Criscione
ED- 7002 Policies and Practices in Leadership
School Climate and Culture
School climate and culture describe the students’ and teachers’ experiences at the school. The primary school climate and culture facilitators are the students and teachers because they determine the school’s direction. The stakeholders ensure that every person is comfortable in the school by enhancing efficiency and effectiveness. A conducive school climate and culture fosters development, promotes a positive academic, physical and disciplinary environment, fosters safety, and maximizes collaboration. An effective school climate and culture results in academic excellence and portrays a good reputation for the learning institution. Every school strives to achieve a recommendable culture that encourages trusting and caring relationships among all the stakeholders. The culture should increase the interdependence between teachers, students, and other adults and register good grades to attract more students. A positive school climate and culture results in higher attendance rates, graduation, and achievement.
English as Second Language (ESL)
Jefferson County School District (JCSD) promotes a climate and culture of English as Second Language learners (ESL) to equip nonnative English speakers with adequate knowledge and language to facilitate their work and stay in the United States (Allen, 2019). The program seeks to provide quality education for children who do not speak English and make them comfortable in the United States. The English learners’ culture affects students’ academic performance, achievement, literacy development, and language in various ways. The school administration acknowledges that students from different cultural backgrounds come to school to learn English and use it in their future endeavors. The school culture differs from the specific cultural backgrounds from which students come and their Native English Speaking (NES) peers. Promoting English as a second language culture is vital in creating a common ground for English learners at JCSD. Creating a conducive climate and culture for all students positively impacts the process and outcome of English learners’ education. Familiarizing oneself with the multiple cultural backgrounds for all English learners should be a priority for all EL educators.
Jefferson County School District trains students and teachers to promote an English culture that accommodates all students without discrimination. Every student’s level of understanding and interest differs; thus, the educational leaders should be sensitive to accommodate all the students regardless of their difference in abilities. Therefore, educators should seek reputable, unbiased resources and personal informants to learn and understand the different students’ cultural backgrounds and strive to educate them based on their specific cultures. Promoting English as Second Language for learners must incorporate educator’s knowledge and understanding of the different cultures, regardless of various aspects such as food, festivals, folk dancing, and their correspondence to the school and community events (Wagner, 2019).
ESL Corresponding Strengths
“School climate and culture are important in understanding the school environment and students’ experiences.” The English as a Second Language (ESL) Program has more than eight thousand learners, with valuable resources and links for instructional resources. The program operates under the WIDA’s English Language Development Standards to ensure students and educators understand English and use the language to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in various educational aspects. Promoting an English climate and culture improves the students’ general performance and builds the institution’s public reputation. The school’s climate and culture acknowledge four primary principles to promote ESL, which strengthen the program to ensure learners’ welfare and wellness. First, they acknowledge students’ languages and cultures as valuable resources that must be incorporated into schooling.
By doing so, the educators prioritize English as students’ language besides their local languages. JCSD cultivates an English culture to promote students’ sense of belonging because it is a universal language used across borders, thus preparing the students for local and international tasks. The second principle is strengthening English as a second language culture in the school, enabling the students to acknowledge the various factors influencing children’s learning development, such as home, school, and community experiences. Such factors enable the educators to determine the system to use to create a culture and climate of English as a second language after individual students’ local languages. Achieving an English culture enables students to discover their metacognitive, metacultural, and metalinguistic awareness. This is a strength that education leaders strive to achieve.
Fourth, creating a school climate and culture that promotes English as a second language for students promotes “students’ academic language development in their native language to facilitate their academic language development in English.” Students learn English and can express themselves in English, converse, and give opinions in the language. Adopting English in the school has improved students’ performance and depicts a promising future for the students. The school’s climate and culture promote sustainability by fostering “youth development and learning necessary for a productive, contributing and satisfying life in a democratic society” (Demie, 2018). Jefferson County Public Schools’ climate and culture enable the students to learn English through meaningful interactive sessions. ESL students are open to learning a new language, communication ways, and culture to lead modern lives composed of multiple traditions.
The school climate and culture are essential in enlightening students to use language in functional and communicative ways, varying based on specific contexts. English learners’ culture enables students to develop academic language and discover content related to English. The educators are English speakers who enhance efficiency in learning the language, thus contributing to proficiency and English effectiveness in the learning environment. Setting English as a second language is quite advantageous to the schooling community because it opens multiple international opportunities for graduate students. English is the most used language worldwide (with nearly 1.13 billion speakers), thus educating students presents a lifetime opportunity to interact with the world and contribute immensely according to their preferences and academic specifications. The ESL program has played a vital role in making the Jefferson County School District world-class and a reputable institution in the community.
Learning English develops students’ language proficiency to listen, write, read and speak in English interdependently, though in different ways at different rates. Since the school adopted the ESL program, remarkable progress is noticeable in students’ development of social, academic, and instructional language, which creates the school success foundation. Promoting an English as Second Language culture enhances students’ complex thinking and promotes their ability to understand linguistic complexity and increases their language proficiency. Embracing English as a second language exposes the students to the world and challenges them to take up global tasks upon graduation. Understanding the English language (to write, read, and speak) should be every student’s aspiration because it opens multiple doors to the world. School climate is a building block of school culture. Jefferson County School District promotes a safe climate by collaborating with community partners such as businesses, individuals, nonprofit organizations, and faith-based organizations to review and enhance safety practices. Attaining a safe institution requires an emergency readiness and response unit.
Peace, love, and unity characterize the school’s climate and portray the institution as goal and objectives-oriented because it focuses on academic excellence. Learning English widens the institution’s boundaries to interact and collaborate with outsiders to promote education and impact learners’ academic progress. The English language allows the students to communicate with school administration and management whenever safety and security issues occur. The schools operate under a healthy and safe school plan to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in education service delivery. School climate results in academic achievement, promotes leadership strategies and implements bullying programs to protect the students and educators.
“The climate includes norms, values, and expectations that support people feeling socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically safe.” (Span, 2019). JCSD’s climate is conducive and promotes the school’s physical environment, teacher development and efficacy, safety, school composition, and parental involvement in academics. The climate sets an appropriate platform for the ESL program. Implementing ESL for students promotes youth development and contributes to satisfying lives. The school’s positive climate motivates teachers and students to learn English as a second language and practice it outside the learning environment. The above-discussed school climate and culture areas portray a reputable image for the school and encourage more learners to enroll because their safety is guaranteed.
ESL Corresponding Weaknesses
Jefferson County School District encounters multiple weaknesses as they try to create a conducive climate and culture to foster educational development and promote students’ lives. Education leaders face student engagement challenges because students do not understand the English language, and sometimes they do not wish to learn the new language. Most nonnative students and parents acknowledge other languages as a second language other than English and see the schools’ program as discriminative because it does not consider diversity. Students fail to understand that English is the most spoken and written language globally and believe that it should not symbolize world unity. Native teachers know speaking in the language more than reading and writing. They may mislead the learners who depend on reading and writing to understand the language and use it professionally.
A language misunderstanding erodes the school climate and culture because the students and learners do not attain the intended purpose and specific goals and objectives. Students cry from repetitive activities, inadequate language exposure, and uninteresting topics (Yol, 2020).
Weaknesses Development and Solutions
The identified weaknesses might have been achieved by inadequate English teaching staff and the student’s unwillingness to learn a new language. Creating a culture of English as a Second Language is quite challenging. Still, a collaboration between the parents, teachers, and students could create a conquerors’ team, educated and well-conversant with the language. A solution to the ESL corresponding weaknesses is adding outside reading materials to expose the students externally and supplement the course books. The educators should also increase the reading materials and encourage students to create interest in literature to meet the school climate and culture goals and objectives. ESL programs, books, and reading materials play a vital role in educating students and should always solve the ESL corresponding weaknesses.
Educators should quote the books sometimes to encourage the students to use external materials to facilitate their education and ensure that the ESL programs benefit them.
Allen, H. B. (2019). English as a second language (pp. 295-320). De Gruyter Mouton.
Demie, F. (2018). English language proficiency and attainment of EAL (English as second language) pupils in England. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 39(7), 641-653.
Span, W. (2019). The Benefits of all Stakeholders of a Positive School Climate and Culture.
Wagner, J. (2019). Towards an epistemology of second language learning in the wild. In Conversation Analytic Research on Learning-in-Action (pp. 251-271). Springer, Cham.
Yol, Ö. (2020). Second Language Writing in Mainstream Classrooms: A Survey Investigation of Teachers of English Language Learners’ Cognition and Reported Applications of Writing for ELLs (Doctoral dissertation, State University of New York at Binghamton).