The Four Quadrants of Staff Culture in K-12 Schools
Educator development has significant impacts on K-12 outcomes. By increasing teacher growth and retention, schools can improve the quality and outcomes of the education they provide, while lowering costs and providing more operational stability. It’s one area of investment schools can make to create a significant positive impact on teacher retention and student achievement.
But to fully realize that opportunity, a district must build the right practice and process that leads to these results. And to build up that practice and process, a district must first create the right culture around educator growth.
In our work with K-12 districts across the country, we’ve found that there are two core commonalities to the highest-performing districts. Those districts find their success through building a culture that values both performance and support.
A culture of support is one where educators are given the mentorship and help needed to move their skills and career forward. In this environment, teachers experience regular non-evaluative observation and feedback, instructional coaching, mentorship meetings, professional development offerings, and other activities designed to provide comprehensive and impactful support. Districts with cultures of support ensure that administrators and teachers have regular communication and understand how to work together to create the best outcomes. It’s one where educators feel safe and secure to do their work as they see best.
A culture of performance is one that is focused on results, standards, and delivering on expectations. In districts with a culture of performance, there is a shared understanding of common goals and outcomes that support the district’s strategic plan and goals. It’s a culture that continually examines results and quantitative outcomes to see what’s driving good or bad results, and then adapts based on that data.