School and Classroom Environments Shine with Collective Action
Something’s different this year. Walking down the halls of our schools, there’s something notably different about the school and classroom environments. It’s not just the summer deep cleaning or the freshly waxed floors (though they help); there’s something collective about our environment expectations that has shifted the way schools and classrooms look and feel across the Partnership network.
Outside most of our classrooms, visitors will see signs identifying the room number, subject or grade level, teacher name, and even the teacher’s college at some sites. Every classroom door at Roosevelt High posts a small signs above the door handle that says, “Welcome. Door is Unlocked. Please Come In.”
At Carver and Gompers Middle Schools there are new posters in the hallways and classrooms that define student expectations, voice levels, and core values. At Joyner Elementary the classroom libraries are immaculately organized and easily accessible for students. And all across the network, you’ll find classrooms with uniform white board configurations, helpful word walls and data walls, backpacks in designated locations, and friendly classroom ambassadors.
More students are in uniform or dress code daily, including many high school students dressing for success on Mondays, donning college gear on Wednesdays, and wearing school pride on Fridays. During passing periods, more adults are visible outside their classrooms, encouraging students to get to class on time, greeting their students at the door, and building a shared sense of responsibility for all students on campus.
How did this unified approach to improved environments happen? The answer lies in many individual efforts combined into collective action, a core value of the Partnership; school and teacher leaders spent hours planning this summer, staff across the entire network spent days preparing and practicing school and classroom expectations and students are meeting the expectations that have been defined, taught, and reinforced this year. The momentum around school and classroom environment expectations is paying off, and with its maintenance, we are hopeful about what it can do as a foundation for student achievement.
Tanya Franklin is the Director of School Culture and Restorative Communities at the Partnership.