Recently I was given a book as a farewell gift from a Roycemore faculty member who was relocating to another state. As she suspected, it was a great read for me and I introduced an exercise in the book to our faculty. The book is Culture Code by Dan Coyle. This past summer Roycemore faculty and staff collaborated to define the culture of our school community. The process was intended as an exercise to articulate the unique aspects of our culture so that when it was time to fill a faculty or staff opening at school, we could check for “cultural alignment” between the candidate and our school. The process, however, resulted in much more than the creation of the document, it became an affirmation of our community and our core values. It also serves as a tool to help us share with others what matters in our work with young people and reminds us why we believe in the value of our mission and vision at Roycemore.
As we enter into a busy admissions season where families are assessing whether Roycemore is the “right fit” for their child and family, we decided that sharing our “culture code” might be helpful in the decision making process.
What is unique about Roycemore’s Culture?
Our culture is how we work together to serve our students and their families. Our culture has been instrumental to the longevity of Roycemore. It helps us attract amazing new colleagues and helps make working at Roycemore a great experience.
What is unique and special about Roycemore:
- Being such a small school, Roycemore feels like a home away from home with a true family feel.
- Students and adults feel that they can be themselves allowing them to take the type of risks necessary for true learning.
- Relationships are authentic.
- We value each other as individuals and celebrate our diversity.
- We aim to know our students, parents, and co-workers better than other schools.
- Students and parents see our faculty care and work together with families to help students reach their full potential.
- Each student is seen as an individual, not a test score.
- We invest in individual students’ success, giving them personalized support to help them grow socially and academically according to their specific needs.
- Teachers are trusted and given the freedom to create unique and engaging curriculum and activities based on the students’ needs, resulting in more engaging learning experiences.
- We stick with kids when they are struggling with academic or emotional issues – and there are many success stories because of it.
- Teachers are supported and benefit from consistent and relevant Professional Development.
- Educational projects are supported and encouraged, taking learning beyond the four walls of the classroom. We encourage students (and faculty) to think outside the box.
CORE VALUES- Many organizations have value statements, but often these written values are vague and ignored. The real values of an organization are demonstrated by the way we operate as a faculty and staff, modeling our values every day. Our core values and how they are lived by our faculty and staff are listed below. The more these sound like you, and describe people you want to be with, the more likely you will thrive at Roycemore.
- You are known for candor, authenticity, and transparency.
- You speak with respect to and about fellow colleagues, both in and away from their presence.
- You admit mistakes freely and openly.
- You treat people with respect, independent of their status or disagreement with you.
- You are reflective and seek out teaching tools that will bring out the best in each student.
- You follow the rules of ethics.
- You talk things through as a team; decisions are not made top down.
- You do the right thing even if it takes longer and is difficult.
- You recognize your own limits, being willing to ask for help and recognize that it is a sign of strength rather than weakness.
- You show young people how to be of service to their community beyond school.
- You show care to your colleagues by celebrating their successes and providing support when needed.
- You work together as a team of faculty and staff for the greater good.
- You recognize that each age has its own challenges and strengths, and as a K-12 school, we bring them all together to create opportunities for shared experiences that all benefit from.
- You participate in the life of the school, taking opportunity to celebrate the community–students and their projects, performances, games, etc.
- You share your own accomplishments and learning with your colleagues.
- You invite other faculty and students to learn about or participate in student projects/ expos.
- Great efforts are made to provide all constituents opportunities to be part of the community.
- You build authentic relationships.
- You show interest in students’ lives outside of school, and share what you have learned about student accomplishments with your colleagues.
- You place great care into the work you do each day.
- You respect all students, parents and colleagues for who they are.
- You respect your peers for their skills and work together to advance each others’ professional growth.
- You respect and value others regardless of their background and beliefs.
- You seek out the opinions and voices of students, recognizing that learning can take place regardless of the status of the individual.
- You actively listen, recognizing that everyone possesses valid ideas and thoughts to share.
- You demonstrate respect for yourself, each other and the environment.
- You are a life-long learner actively engaged in professional development and applying what you learned.
- You are willing to take appropriate educational risks to support student growth.
- You use multiple sources to teach more expansively in your subject area.
- You recognize that learning takes place everywhere and in many ways.
- You embrace a growth mindset and encourage that with your students.
- You recognize the need to balance breadth vs. depth in your instruction.
- You adjust your teaching to differentiate for student strengths and areas for growth.
- You welcome feedback to support your professional growth.
- You genuinely like young people and are motivated to serve as an inspiring influence in their lives.
- You teach with heart and acknowledge inappropriate behaviors in a responsive way rather than in a punitive manner.
- Teachers and administration work together to support students.
- You seek out the positive to embrace and compliment.
- You aim to be an upstander.
- You recognize that individuals have lives outside of school that can influence their experience at school.
- You embrace good self-care so that you can be present for your students, parents, and colleagues.
- You encourage your colleagues to take care of themselves.