Synopses & Reviews
Just as culture is critical to understanding the dynamics behind any thriving community, organization, or business, the daily realities and deep structure of school life hold the key to educational success. Reforms that strive for educational excellence are likely to fail unless they are meaningfully linked to the school's unique culture. In Shaping School Culture, Terrence E. Deal and Kent D. Peterson show how leaders can harness the power of school culture to build a lively, cooperative spirit and a sense of school identity.
The authors draw from over twenty years of research on school improvement as well as from their own extensive work with school leaders across the country to identify viable new strategies for effective school leadership. They describe the critical elements of culture--the purposes, traditions, norms, and values that guide and glue the community together--and show how a positive culture can make school reforms work. Deal and Peterson also explore the harmful characteristics of toxic cultures and suggest antidotes to negativity on the part of teachers, students, principals, or parents.
Using real-life cases from their own research, Deal and Peterson provide concrete, detailed illustrations of exemplary practice in different school cultures. They reveal the key symbolic roles that leaders play in school change and identify the specific skills needed to change school culture successfully. Shaping School Culture provides an action blueprint for school leaders committed to transforming their schools for success.
"Nothing is more important about a school than its culture. No one occupies a more influential position from which to influence a school's culture than its principal. And no guidebook presents a better, more approachable path toward understanding and building a school culture than this one. I wish I had had Shaping School Culture beside me during my own turbulent years as a school principal!" —Roland S. Barth, educator and author of Improving Schools from Within
"Every successful school leader knows that culture is everything! Deal and Peterson offer principals and other school leaders a genuinely useful guide to recognizing, nurturing, and reshaping the cultures of their schools. This practical book demonstrates the many cultural roles that school leaders play and provides clear, helpful examples of how effective leaders apply their knowledge of culture to improve their schools." —Laraine Roberts, director of research and development, California School Leadership Academy
"Deal and Peterson 'marinate' the reader in a wealth of stories, anecdotes, case studies, and strategies--all of which vividly illustrate how school leaders can shape the culture of their schools in order to make an impact on student learning and achievement. This book is a must read for school leaders at all levels." —Karen M. Dyer, executive director, Chicago Academy for School Leadership
The previous edition of this book was notable for explaining how the values and beliefs of educators have a critical impact on school functioning. In this long-awaited new edition, authors focus on new and inspiring case examples from schools across the country to show how culture-based practices are being used to bring purpose, passion, and meaning to the educational experience. They also show how leaders play important symbolic roles in schools and how culture-based strategies can help educators manage everyday challenges and even serve to heal and transform "toxic" school environments.
About the Author
TERRENCE E. DEAL is professor of educational leadership at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. He is author or coauthor of numerous books, including the best-selling Leading with Soul and The Leadership Paradox. KENT D. PETERSON is professor in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and founding director of the Vanderbilt Principals' Institute. He is author or coauthor of many books, including The Leadership Paradox.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: The Case for School Culture.
Part One: Elements of Culture.
2. Schools as Tribes.
3. Vision and Value: The Bedrock of Culture.
4. Ritual and Ceremony: Culture in Action.
5. History and Stories: The Importance of Symbolic Lore.
6. Architecture and Artifacts: The Potency of Symbols and Signs.
7. Putting It Together: Three Schools.
Part Two: The Leadership Challenge.
8. Eight Roles of Symbolic Leaders.
9. Pathways to Successful Culture.
10. Transforming Toxic Cultures.
11. Connecting School and Community Culture.
12. Conclusion: The Future of Schools.