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Briefing sheets – Our thinking behind the Standards
We use these sheets during our training for school directors/principals or country coordinators who want to learn more about the Standards before implementing them.

For each of these Standards we have Case Studieswhich illustrate how the Standards have been used as a tool for school improvement.

1. Leadership ·
  • Our mission has been agreed with the full involvement of pupils, parents, the wider community and other agencies
  • We make strategic plans taking into account interests and needs of pupils, teachers, parents and significant stakeholders
  • We allocate resources – people, places, equipment and, where possible, funds for this work
  • We ensure staff acquire skills to involve people and lead development and manage initiatives
  • We promote and value high levels of achievement and the improvement of individual progress and personal development
  • Our leaders encourage the generation of new ideas, new ways of working and new responses to challenges and support others in taking responsibility for decision-making and action
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Leadership – our thinking

No society or culture remains unchanged. Most of our readers will know that their own society is changing. Change often brings about tensions, conflicts. This might be between different groups in our community or between generations as young people understand the world in a different way to their parents and grandparents. Schools operate in these complex and changing societies with many new challenging trends and sometimes conflict. The integration of migrant communities, the use of illegal drugs, increasing crime rates, poverty and reduced economic development, or sudden increased economic development, new industries requiring new skills and knowledge form the workforce, a demand for active public participation in democratic processes are just a few of these trends which can be found in many countries around the world. Staffs at Community Schools acknowledge that trends in the local community have a direct impact in children’s access to education and their ability to learn when in school and so they work with parents, other agencies and the wider community. Community Schools need good managers, but under these circumstances, they also need strong leadership. Table 1 set out the difference between leadership and management:

Managing Leading
applying rules and policies
running meetings
selling and persuading
doing things right
using systems
communicating instructions
assessing performance
appraising people
getting people to do things
formal team briefing
responding to emails
planning schedules
reacting to requests
reviewing performance
time management
organising resources
implementing tactics
taking responsibility
identifying the need for action
having courage
consulting with team
giving responsibility to others
determining direction
explaining decisions
making painful decisions
defining aims and objectives
being honest with people
developing strategy
keeping promises
working alongside team members
sharing a vision with team members
motivating others
doing the right thing
taking people with you
developing successors
inspiring others
resolving conflict
allowing the team to make mistakes
taking responsibility for mistakes
nurturing and growing people
giving praise
thanking people
giving constructive feedback
accepting criticism and suggestions
being determined
acting with integrity
· (Developed from a suggestion by Sheila Caldwell) · *Source: http://www.businessballs.com/teambuildinggames htm# leadership management exercise for teams

From this we can see that whilst management is about technical procedures such as monitoring, leadership is about the interactive dynamic with people. Here are words and phrases we associate with leadership: Integrity, enabling, team building, praising success, learning from mistakes. The concept of serving is fundamental to the leadership role. Good leadership involves serving the organization or group and the people within it. Ineffective leaders tend to invert this principle and consider that the leader must be served by the people. Thus we see that leadership is about positive human characteristics – attitudes and philosophy. Here are a few quotes which you may want to use in your training:

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” (President Harry S Truman) “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to look after them, and pretty soon you have a dozen” (John Steinbeck) “A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than the giant himself.” (Didacus Stella, circa AD60 (also abridged on the side f the UK £2 coin) “Behind an able man there are always other able men.” (Chinese Proverb)

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2. Partnership ·

  • We share decisions with partner agencies including community organizations
  • We take joint initiatives with partners · We pool resources with partners for some initiatives to benefit the community
  • We have a written agreement setting out how we will work together
  • We promote and support each other’s activities
  • We participate in local, regional and national networks of Community Schools
  • Our facilities are available for community use after school, at weekends and during school holidays
  • We work with others to solve community issues

Partnership – our thinking

The changes to society that we described in our Leadership section mean that children and young people experience a complex set of conditions which might help them to study better, but are more likely to distract them. Staff at Community Schools are keen to improve children’s access to learning and want to see children and young people as proactive in change and not its victims. This means that they will want to offer their pupils the opportunity to become active citizens and will want them to have the chance to tackle some of the tensions and difficulties they might face. Their families and the wider community may also be struggling to cope with changes – perhaps employment is decreasing or its nature is changing, perhaps there is violence and crime, maybe an increase in alcohol or drug misuse. Staff in Community Schools recognise that this will impact on their pupils’ willingness and ability to learn, but they may not be in a position to tackle these issues alone. Partnerships can help Community Schools support their pupils, their families and the wider community because they extend the skills and expertise available. Here are some typical examples:

Boys from a minority ethnic group in one secondary Community School were under performing academically. The school worked in partnership with a community organization from that community which provided successful young people who had graduated from university to provide after school activities. They also came into school during lunch breaks and mentored individuals struggling to conform to the school’s code of conduct. A professional football club allocated sessions to local Community Schools as part of a schools sports programme to encourage greater involvement in sport by children and their parents Pupils at one Community School were being targeted by drug dealers on their way home from school. The school worked in partnership with the police and with a specialist drugs abuse NGO which teaching materials and individual advice and support to children.

The art department of a Community School worked with local community groups so that the artwork produced by their pupils for one term helped the groups with posters, photographs, leaflets etc. An international oil producing company worked with about 20 Community Schools to develop several subjects ensuring that the pupils were learning from real life business situations. Every area of the curriculum was developed and the materials were made available to all other schools at the end of the project.

An NGO representing the needs of older people worked with their local Community School and for one term pupils sat alongside older people and taught them how to access the internet and send emails. An amateur dramatic group and a Community School worked put on a public performance of a well-known musical.

A Community School found that many of the girls from the local Muslim community were being kept home from school by their parents once they reached the age of 13. Although they tried to work with the parents, language and cultural difficulties made this difficult so they worked in partnership with a trusted community group where the volunteer members acted as mediators. They helped the Community school change some of its practices that worried the parents and reassured the parents that their daughters would be safe during breaks and at lunch times.

A rural Community School could not provide after school activities because transport was poor. It worked in partnership with a voluntary group to provide drivers so that pupils could attend.

Association, Networking and Partnership

Sometimes people use these words interchangeably but it is helpful to differentiate between them so that we can understand each other. Table 2 may help us:

Association Networking Partnership
Reference is made to other organizations in literature Organizations have an interest in common and meet each other on a regular basis to share information This involves two or more organizations coming together for a specified purpose, usually for a particular period.
Organizations may attend the same meetings convened by another agency A network may have one organization, or a group of organizations which convene networking events where others in the field attend These organizations may be quite different from each other eg NGO, government department and a private business. They are working together because they each have something to bring to a particular issue.

The organizations in the network will share information but there may be times when they are competing against each other for funds The organizations may be competing with each other for funds at other times but within the partnership they will work together and may share funds secured for the purpose of the partnership.

Organizations may choose to change some working practices because they have learnt from others To complete the work for which they are in partnership one or more organization may be required to change some of its working practices

Organizations may choose to tell others about the work they do but this is not compulsory Where funds are shared members of the partnership may be required to account to others in the partnership in order to demonstrate that the work they have received for activities have been properly spent or to account for the outcomes of the their activities eg number of people trained and at what cost.

Types of partnerships

Not all partnerships look the same. It depends on their purpose. Some partnerships are long term and some for short term projects. Here are some examples: Long term partnership: A Community School works in a community which is severely stressed and where health outcomes are poor. There is a long term regular partnership between the Community School and local health agencies. The schools is used a regular family clinic, individual children or family members displaying particular conditions are referred for specialist treatment. In this case there are written protocols setting out confidentiality policy, referral procedures, costs and fees etc..

Short term project: A Community School has applied for external funds to develop its maths curriculum. Its partner is a local business who will provide opportunities for maths teachers to visit the company and will provide staff to go into some lessons to help set mathematical issues with which the company has to deal on a regular basis. The project will last two terms. Here the partnership agreement will set out who is paid for what work, how many staff will go to the company and how many staff from the company will come to the school and how often etc..

Informal partnerships to solve a local problem: the behaviour of a local community leads to ill health so the Community School, a local health agency and the priest agree that they will all focus on this issue for the a month. Each will carry on as normal, but because the focus of their work will coincide, the effect will be all the stronger.

Accountable body: a local agency has received substantial funding for a new initiative, for example re training adults for new job skills. It must account for how the funds have been spent and how effective the initiative is. The agency cannot deliver the work itself and will therefore have one or several partners such as the Community School offering Lifelong Learning opportunities, to deliver the work for them. In this case, the Community School will have a service level agreement setting out exactly what it will do and how and when it will receive the funds. The Community School may have worked with the agency at application stage so that the work it is commissioned to undertake is feasible.

Partnerships work best when

  • Partners are together from their own volition because they have recognised common purpose
  • All partners are equally committed
  • All relevant workers understand and have a commitment to the partnership Roles and responsibilities are clear as is remuneration
  • All partners have opportunity to shape the work
  • There is a supportive climate for decision making
  • A clear sense of direction
  • Success and failure is shared
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3. Social inclusion ·
  • Teachers model and promote the values and behavior supporting human rights and the social inclusion of all minorities
  • Social inclusion is an integral part of school policies and practices
  • Services and programs are accessible for different groups
  • ·he school actively promotes equal rights to quality education for all in its local community
Social inclusion – our thinking
This is a very complex subject and we cannot do justice to it here. In some countries there has been a great deal of work done on this issue with legislation and policy frameworks which go some way to helping social inclusion but in others the issue is rarely discussed. We offer here a brief explanation of social inclusion and what we mean by it because this has shaped the indicators in the Standard.

Towards a definition

There are many terms used in this debate and here are some: Equal opportunity, positive action, social inclusion, social exclusion, social cohesion, community cohesion, valuing diversity Essentially they all share a basic common understanding of a problem, namely, that some individuals do not enjoy the full benefits of a society and this is because they belong to a particular group or geographical area. This means that some people are not able to access services because they have specific barriers – for example, only children whose parents can afford to pay can attend school. They may also not be able to assess services because they face discrimination because they belong to a particular group. Groups which often experience such discrimination are: from an ethnic minority, belong to a minority religious group or sect, are lesbian, homosexual or transgender, are poor, or live in a poor neighbourhood, are disabled, are elderly and socially isolated, are female or have a mental health problem. In some cases a definition is used which refers specifically to people who are distant from the labour market. This is what is meant by social exclusion in the EU for example. This will include all the groups we have discussed but, would not include older people who are no longer part of the labour market, neither would it include families or children. Often individuals can face multi disadvantage because they belong to more than one of these groups – a disabled woman from an ethnic minority group which is very poor for example. This seems quite simple to understand but discrimination can take many forms. When people shout racist comments to others it is quite obvious, but usually it is far more subtle and often discrimination is embedded in the way an organization works. Look at these real life examples we have encountered and see if you can tell where there is discrimination. Some you will find easy to spot, others may be more hidden.
  • The trouble with that group of parents is that they don’t care about their children getting an education. (teacher from a school where children from a poor area had poor attendance rates)
  • Mothers carry babies on their backs so when they grow up they don’t have the same perspective and cannot draw straight lines. (teacher) · We don’t want our children to learn about any other religion. (parents)
  • We run after-school classes. We just advertise the class and the fee and then, if enough people take it up, we run it. (Lifelong learning organizer) · We expect parents to send their children to school in a clean, well-kept uniform which available from the school outfitters, Fabrics Ltd. (extract from letter sent home to parents)
  • All our city schools have to teach traditional cooking methods. (inner city local authority statement on cookery lessons)
  • All children work through a reading scheme about Janet and John. This one, for example, shows Janet helping her mother prepare food in the kitchen and John helping his father mend the car. (literacy co-ordinator)
  • We teach children about family values here and explain that children should be brought up by a mother and father married to each other. (social education teacher)
  • Their food smells horrible and they have too many children so we don’t encourage them to come to the community center. (community activist)
  • He is very effeminate so we look after him by keeping in the head teacher’s office where is safe.
  • We welcome everybody into our community room upstairs. (community engagement teacher)
  • We send children home with a list of homework tasks and they are punished if they are not completed in time. (teacher)
  • We have many cultural activities here. The girls learn about making clothes and cooking and the boys learn about our history. (supplementary school volunteer)
  • Interviewer: who can attend this school?
Teacher: all children in the local community can come
Interviewer: Do you mean all boys and girls?
Teacher: All boys.

Maybe you can see from this list that some discrimination is overt but some is unintentional. Probably the school that designated a room for community use upstairs did not intend to exclude people with mobility difficulties. When punishing children who do not complete their homework the staff probably believed in setting high standards but if pupils have no room at home for quiet study, they are disadvantaged and homework clubs held after school can help them overcome this disadvantage. Teaching traditional methods of cooking might leave out children from other cultures where different methods of cooking are used. The Janet and John reading scheme is obviously sexist but the names of children in the materials might not be inclusive. It always helps if names of people in materials and pictures included show people from different ethnic groups where names, dress and color may be different from the host country. Some statements suggest that there are stereotypes and often start with “these people…..”. The school which removed the effeminate boy for his own safety has made his difference worse, rather than protecting him by dealing with homophobic bullying. Even if being a practising homosexual is illegal in your country, a boy who is effeminate may still the right to an education free from bullying. Language can hide discrimination so when the word “all is used” sometimes it may mean all boys, or all Christians etc.. When organizations have a culture, or systems and procedures which act as a barrier to certain groups, this is called “institutionalised racism” or “institutionalised sexism”.

Consequences of barriers

There is a mountain of research that charts the results of discrimination and barriers to learning. In short, these are the likely results: · The overall statistics for a country showing literacy and numeracy, employment and health outcomes is poor because some groups are barred from learning. · Likewise in a school where there are these disadvantaged groups, if the barriers are not removed, then academic results will be lowered. · The economic development of a country is poor because the society has not harnessed all its human resources. · There is social unrest from disadvantaged groups and a rise in crime. · Poor educational outcomes are closely linked to poor health outcomes. In some countries there are laws intended to prevent discrimination but in other there is no legislative or policy framework. There may even be laws which actually encourage discrimination. Some of our readers will come from societies where it is culturally, or even legally unacceptable to belong to or practice a religion, or cultural activities or to be a practising lesbian or homosexual. Some readers will have strong personal views. Whilst we would not urge our readers to break the law, it is our belief that children, irrespective of their background have a right to education and this is enshrined by the United Nations This is taken from the UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org/education/
Education is a fundamental human right: Every child is entitled to it. It is critical to our development as individuals and as societies, and it helps pave the way to a successful and productive future. When we ensure that children have access to a rights-based, quality education that is rooted in gender equality, we create a ripple effect of opportunity that impacts generations to come. Education enhances lives. It ends generational cycles of poverty and disease and provides a foundation for sustainable development. A quality basic education better equips girls and boys with the knowledge and skills necessary to adopt healthy lifestyles, protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and take an active role in social, economic and political decision-making as they transition to adolescence and adulthood. Educated adults are more likely to have fewer children, to be informed about appropriate child-rearing practices and to ensure that their children start school on time and are ready to learn. In addition, a rights-based approach to education can address some of societies’ deeply rooted inequalities. These inequalities condemn millions of children, particularly girls, to a life without quality education – and, therefore, to a life of missed opportunities.

Taking action

We believe that a Community School should be serving its local community and open to all, committed to removing barriers. We believe that it is good professional practice to ensure that institutional barriers are removed irrespective of the teachers’ own personal views. For example, a teacher may not like a particular ethnic minority group and may act accordingly, within the framework of the law, outside school, but in school his or her actions must be guided by high professional standards which we have included in our Social Inclusion Standard, providing that it is operating within the law. Table 3 may help understand the range of different approaches

Basic equal opportunities Positive Action Valuing diversity
A Community School will review its procedures, teaching materials, terminology, policies on charging fees etc. so that obvious barriers are removed. A Community School acknowledges that some children will experience multi disadvantage and may need additional support if they are to make the most of the education provided. Therefore they might work in partnership with community groups which can give additional support to those children, or provide successful role models. Perhaps there are active attempts to include such children by, for example, ensuring that the library has books in their own language, that the school includes their own musical instruments in teaching etc.. Here a Community School will ecognize that including people who have different life experiences and world view helps enrich the life of the school. Such schools will make sure that representatives from the different groups served by the school are present in the Parents association, that the teaching staff is as diverse as possibly, preferably with members from the different ethnic groups who attend the school. People from disadvantage groups will be actively sought out and their involvement encouraged when planning schools activities.
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4. Services
  • We offer services based on a robust analysis of need
  • We monitor and evaluate services which take place on our site to check who is taking advantage of them and the benefits they are getting
  • We investigate the reasons underlying any lack of participation in services
  • We develop further provision in order to ensure access and social inclusion
  • We encourage and value the contribution of other agencies in providing services/consultations either on the school’s site or in community bases and promote and support them
  • We provide a range of services to enhance and enrich the learning of pupils, families and the community

Services – our thinking

A Community School is a central resource in its community and offers a range of services and activities, often beyond the school day, to help meet the needs of children, their families and wider community. These are determined according to needs but usually include support for families, learning opportunities for adults and community organizations, health and social services. Schools which provide, or perhaps host, services delivered by other agencies can support families so that children can have all round support. The school itself might not provide all the services, but will encourage other agencies to provide services either at the school site or located in the community. It will actively support and promote the services. Community Schools are not closed institutions; they are open for wider community and have a development function. Of course, we can see that there is a clear link between the lifelong learning, community development and services which Community Schools offer.
Examples of services:
  • Computer courses for community members
  • Family support and family education programs.
  • Language courses for community members
  • Recreation, craft, and sports activities for adults and children.
  • Programs for senior citizens and other special populations.
  • Intergenerational programs.
  • Enrichment activities for children outside of traditional school hours.
  • Preschool and before- and after-school child care programs.
  • Career and technical education in partnership with local employers.
  • Adult education and vocational classes.
  • Community service and other volunteer programs for young people and adults.
  • Literacy programs. · Programs dealing with problems in interpersonal relationships.
  • Community newsletters and other forms of communication.
  • Programs that address specific community problems and need (mentoring the under achievers, special activities for girls or boys to encourage equality, etc.)

Providing services:
  • enables children to have fun and develop wider interests/new skills
  • enhances support for children at risk · encourages greater parental involvement in children’s learning
  • makes better us of school facilities by opening up sports, arts and ICT facilities to the community

A Community School must be viewed in the context of its environment, both internal and external. A school culture, its belief system, the interaction of its members – there internal factors are directly related to what the school can do and how it can be done. An internal assessment provides answers to such questions as: what we believe; what we can or cannot do; whom we serve; and how we are seen. Environmental scanning also looks at the community and the school place in it. An external assessment seeks answers to such questions as: what is the community like and how is it changing; who else serves the community; what needs to be done today, and what will be the needs of tomorrow. So, the services provision is connected with assessing internal capacity of the Community School and community needs analysis, which may include surveys, interviews, the key informant technique, community forums, etc.

Key principles of a successful needs analysis include:

Participation: community members have the expertise you need, so it is vital to involve local people, and to encourage them to voice their opinions. A successful service provision aims to support and empower people of different ages, genders, backgrounds and cultures to play an active, participatory role in decision making, and to take control of their own future.

Honesty: be open and transparent about the process of needs analysis. People will generally participate more if they know and understand that something can be achieved through their participation.

Cross-checking information: it is important to look for a variety of different opinions and views, and to gather different perspectives. Cross-check the information you gain, through careful probing. Learn from other community members, from the results of previous consultation work, or from other data about the community with which you are working.

Flexibility: the approach that you need to adopt will be different for every community; there is no single, universal approach. Take time to plan and prepare. If your Community School takes a lead role in providing services for community members, then below is the whole commissioning cycle, as this is the process you will need to go through when planning for a commissioning approach. The cycle consists of 6 stages through which the commissioning process is developed, designed, formulated and implemented. The first stage is to clarify the strategic outcomes and identify the issues to be addressed.

The next stages involve working with stakeholders to explore the issues and identify where a needs analysis is required. A planning framework is then produced, which becomes a tool for commissioning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the work. The commissioning cycle is represented as a circle. At certain stages, and in some situations, it may be important to clarify issues by going back to a previous stage and then moving forwards again. A decision made at one stage may mean that previous decisions are affected and need to be reviewed. The commissioning framework has been adapted from the tools used as part of Project Cycle Management (PCM). PCM tools and techniques: · focus on outcomes · clarify how planned activities help to achieve specific outcomes · are explicit about the implications of carrying out particular activities in terms of resources, assumptions and risks strengthen partnerships with local people, particularly at the planning stage of the commissioning process.

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5. Volunteering ·
  • We have volunteering opportunities with pupils and adults (including parents) from different social groups
  • We offer training and support for volunteers
  • Our pupils have the opportunity to initiate, design and lead volunteering activities
  • Our volunteers have the chance to network with their counterparts in other areas/regions/countries
  • We monitor and evaluate our activities to ensure that they are effective

Volunteering – our thinking

In Community Schools we need to inspire and motivate our young people to become active and effective citizens who will make a positive contribution to their local communities. Young people’s involvement in real-life citizenship opportunities can empower them to see they make a difference. The significance of volunteering is to develop an organized system that makes volunteerism a integral part of school life. Community Schools develop a system that makes volunteering a regular part of school life. This system reaches out not only to students but teachers, parents and other community members. It helps fosters the habit of being an active member of one’s community so that student volunteers become adult volunteers. The parents, teachers and other community members who get involved set an example so that donating time to something you care about becomes a natural and expected part of living in a democratic society.

When you are building a volunteer program the number of volunteers is not as significant as the fact that the number continues to grow from action to action, from year to year. If the number of people willing to donate time increases, this is the greatest indicator that you are becoming more professional at attracting and working with volunteers and designing activities that demonstrate results so that others are inspired to become involved. In some societies, volunteering is seen as a normal part of life – at least for those periods when we have spare time and this is especially when we are young and when we are older because during these periods we have fewer family responsibilities.

You may be interested in these statistics taken from studies in the UK:
  • In 2008/09 71% of adults volunteered in some way with 47% volunteering at least once a month (2008/09 DCLG Citizenship Survey). · In 2008/09 41% of adults volunteered formally (giving unpaid help through a group, club or organization) and 62% volunteered informally (giving unpaid help as an individual to someone who is not a relative) o /Source: 2008/09 DCLG Citizenship Survey/
  • In 2007/08 formal volunteers contributed an estimated £22.7 billion to the UK economy (UK Civil Society Almanac).
  • The average number of hours spent volunteering per volunteer declined by 30% between 1997 and 2007 (Helping Out, 2007). Evidence also suggests that there is a trend towards more episodic volunteering (The UK Civil Society Almanac 2009).

In some societies volunteering is not as readily understood and so we may need to provide convincing arguments in favor. Here are some that may help:

Get noticed by employers
The most important asset of any organization is its people. If you can demonstrate evidence of your abilities you stand a far greater chance of being hired and promoted. A frequently cited survey (carried out by Time Bank through Reed Executive in the UK) showed that among 200 leading businesses: · 73% of employers would employ a candidate with volunteering experience over one without. · 94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills. · 58% say that voluntary work experience can actually be more valuable than experience gained in paid employment. · 94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted. Statistics should always be viewed as an indicator and not taken on their own. What the Reed report shows is that employers are aware of volunteering as a positive undertaking and that it is something that can be used when attempting to gain employment. Additionally, volunteering lets you road test different kinds of work, giving you hands on experience of how different professions operate. Volunteering can bring you into contact with all kinds of professionals and people from every walk of life. In fact, the networking opportunities it can provide are among the least publicised but most exciting benefits of all. A good network can guide your career path right through life and help you take huge steps towards your ideal job. In addition to seeking skilled applicants, employers also look for individuals with a range of positive interests. There are many volunteering opportunities in a range of areas of interest such as sport, art, finance, mental health, research, campaigning or legal aid and justice, to name but a few.

Skills - Many volunteers encounter a variety of new challenges when they begin giving time in their communities. Sharing new experiences with new people, they can learn new skills that can give them confidence to face challenges in other areas of their lives. Sometimes volunteers will be offered significant training followed by a proportionate level of responsibility. Volunteering often involves working alongside people from a wide range of different backgrounds and in a variety of different environments. It can offer a unique opportunity to develop the interpersonal skills that are vital to any job. When selecting your voluntary opportunity you should consider any skills gaps you may have.

Friends - There’s no better place to meet like-minded individuals than through volunteering for a campaign or cause you believe in. Working together to bring about a change is a great way to bond with others and become part of a group that can stay in touch long after your work is done. Plus, you could meet people from a diverse range of backgrounds – people you may never come across in your daily life.

Citizenship - Volunteers gives insights into how our society operates, and often highlights direct routes between governmental policies and the effects on people’s lives so that you can begin to understand how a democracy operates and play your full part.

Confidence - Volunteering often provides opportunities to try new activities and this often helps you gain confidence. Young volunteers, for example, often find that the chance to engage with a range of adults builds their social confidence. Women who have been at home looking after young children often lose confidence in their ability to re-join the labour market, especially if they fear that new technology has moved on since they last worked. Volunteering can give them the chance to get back up to speed and give them the confidence to return to work.

Improve your health - There is evidence that volunteering can improve your health. In “The Healing Power of Doing Good”, writer Allan Luks found medical and scientific documentation supporting the health benefits of volunteering, such as: · a heightened sense of well-being · an improvement in insomnia · a stronger immune system · speedier recovery from surgery Community School SURVEY conducted in spring 2004 in 5 countries of Eurasia: In our survey 92% of the schools reported conducting regular volunteer actions and 81 of the 84 schools indicated they are implementing Community School volunteer programs. As a result of these activities the percentage of schools that showed an increase in the number of volunteers was: · Students: 89% of the schools · Teachers: 69% · Parents and other relatives: 65% · Community members: 63%

Providing quality systems

We need to develop programs that provide people with information on the value of being active and the tools they need to conduct effective projects or volunteer actions. When other community members see the positive change that comes from conducting result oriented projects or actions, they will see that becoming active in your community isn’t useless and will be more likely to get involved. Developing projects and actions based on the interests of community members, students, teachers and relatives will help them to understand the link between the interests of their family and those of the community as a whole. Inviting government representatives help conduct or attend these activities helps eliminate fear by developing trust, greater understanding and partnership between local government and citizens.

Finally, provide a menu of ways that people can participate so it is possible for everyone to have some level of involvement regardless of how busy they are. It is also very good practice to provide every volunteer with a portfolio where they are encouraged to record the skills and knowledge they have acquired and particular achievements. In some countries the management of volunteers is a separate function and not the responsibility of the staff at the Community School but in this case the Community School should be an active partner encouraging pupils to volunteer and providing volunteering activities for adults in the school. (Remember to make proper child protection procedures here).

In Community schools effective volunteer projects should:
  • be inclusive
  • be innovative and fun
  • be able to support and empower young people to become active citizens
  • recognize the ongoing achievements of young people in out-of-school hours and community work
  • offer a variety of exciting volunteering opportunities in schools and their communities
  • involve young people in the planning, running and development of their projects at a level appropriate to their skills and experience
  • encourage young people to work with a variety of groups · encourage reflection and learning from their experience
  • develop a variety of skills including skills they will need in the career to which they aspire
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6. Lifelong Learning ·

  • We seek to create a love of learning that focuses on how to learn rather than a narrow approach to content and knowledge
  • We offer support and learning opportunities for all generations
  • We provide learning opportunities that take account of the wide variety of learning styles and include recreational, vocational and practical learning · We use the community as a resource for learning, inviting people from the community to share their knowledge and expertise with our staff and pupils

Lifelong Learning – our thinking
Awaken people's curiosity. It is enough to open minds, do not overload them. Put there just a spark. Anatole France

Community Schools care for community members and through its programs makes sure that the learning needs of community members are fulfilled. This ensures social capital and a learning culture within the community and makes conducive environment for children to learn.
Most countries are experiencing fast changes – economic restructuring and new technologies are just two. Whereas someone could anticipate staying in one job for life, now most people can expect to change jobs. Even f they stay in one job, the way they do the work is likely to change dramatically during their career. , So adults will need to return to learning several times during their adult life. Perhaps this will be for a specific purpose – to acquire new vocational skills, to change to a different career, to start-up a business. But equally, many adults will want to continue learning simply for pleasure, or to remain socially connected. Some will delight in achieving academic success having missed out earlier in life. The Community School should be able to offer opportunities – either by using the talents, skills and knowledge of its own staff, or by working in partnership with other learning providers. This represents lifelong learning. Lifelong learning may be broadly defined as learning that is pursued throughout life: learning that is flexible, diverse and available at different times and in different places. Lifelong learning crosses sectors, promoting learning beyond traditional schooling and throughout adult life (ie post-compulsory education). This definition is based on Delors’ (1996) four ‘pillars’ of education for the future.
Learning to know - mastering learning tools rather than acquisition of structured knowledge.
Learning to do – equipping people for the types of work needed now and in the future including innovation and adaptation of learning to future work environments.
Learning to live together, and with others – peacefully resolving conflict, discovering other people and their cultures, fostering community capability, individual competence and capacity, economic resilience, and social inclusion.
Learning to be – education contributing to a person’s complete development: mind and body, intelligence, sensitivity, aesthetic appreciation and spirituality. Lifelong learning can instil creativity, initiative and responsiveness in people thereby enabling them to show adaptability in post-industrial society through enhancing skills to: manage uncertainty; communicate across and within cultures, sub-cultures, families and communities, negotiate conflicts. The emphasis is on learning to learn and the ability to keep learning for a lifetime. /Source: http://www.llcq.org.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=12n /

Whether you're into CD and DVD programs on your own, attending community education classes or attend learning programs like drawing or painting, art history, money management, psychology, self-discovery, writing, archaeology, physical fitness, memory enhancement, traveling or visiting current events, simply gathering with friends to learn bridge, you're an ageless learner. Professor Stephen McNair a semi-retired National Institute of Adult Continuing Education research fellow, says that in all the guidance about wellbeing, education is central. "[It is] particularly important for those in the latter stages of life when one is less mobile and having to cope with the death of partners and friends: getting out of bed and feeling one has a purpose can be particularly challenging." /Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/adult-learning/lifelong-learning-key-to-happiness/

Community Schools understand that the learning process is happening in- and out-side of the school and among all generations, not only to the children in schools. Staffs at Community Schools don’t see themselves as the fount of all knowledge but will, whenever possible, facilitate access to learning. For example, in some countries, the University of the Third Age is popular. Older adults teach their fellow senior citizens. It is an entirely voluntary activity and everyone derives great pleasure from the experience. In its role as a facilitator of learning opportunities a Community School will identify and respond to these local needs in partnership with other agencies and stakeholders. This provides a useful bridge and an opportunity for children to see that learning is a lifelong activity. The Community School contributes in this way to social and intellectual capacity within its local community. This makes lifelong learning an integral element of school culture. Of course, here we can see that there is a clear link between the lifelong learning, community development and services which Community Schools offer.. This is natural because lifelong learning ensures that community members irrespective of age participate in learning situations through the services that Community Schools and its partners offer.

Everybody can be learners or teachers; it is a two way communications. Lifelong learning plays great role in economic wellbeing of the community. Whether you are attending a painting course and sell own paintings or you are gaining additional skills for the start-up of a family business, gaining qualifications for a different job, or learning how to develop social entrepreneurship, you are contributing to the economic development of your own community. In creating this services Community Schools take into consideration local needs and includes people from diverse backgrounds, experiences, motivations and interests.

Example: Building a business When Roy Steggles left school at 16 in the 1960s his only qualification was a cycling proficiency certificate. He held down jobs in factories, the army and lorry driving, but because of his school record he considered himself a "dunce", and for many years was not interested in learning. However, when he started breeding dogs he took a short course in animal first-aid at Norton Radstock College. This led to volunteering, a job with the PDSA and a course in animal nursing. Not only did Roy find studying easier than expected, he was able to communicate with a wider range of people and lost his lifelong stutter. His commitment and the way in which he became a role model for younger students won him a south-west learner of the year award in 2008. "This had a profound effect on me," he says. "It came at the point where it confirmed all the positives and justified all the efforts of the past two years. And it was recognition for all those who helped – including my family, Norton Radstock College and the PDSA." Now in his 60s, he runs his own animal welfare center, managing the government regulations, finance and IT as well as the animal care, a position he would never have achieved without learning in later life.
Source http://www.guardian.co.uk/adult-learning/life-started-when-went-college

Lifelong learning opportunities can make a contribution to community cohesion. Giving a chance for people from different social groups to come together and appreciate each other’s cultural traditions.

Community Schools develop plans for adult learning respecting their needs and learning styles. It is important that where Community Schools offer learning opportunities for adults that the teachers recognise that teaching approaches for adults are different to those used with children. The teacher of adults has a different job from the one who teaches children.
The five principles of adult learning
These five principles of adult learning may help: Malcolm Knowles, a pioneer in the study of adult learning, observed that adults learn best when:

Principle 1: Make Sure Your Adult Students Understand “Why” Most adult students are in a classroom because they want to be. Some of them are there because they have Continuing Education requirements to keep a certificate current, but most are there because they’ve chosen to learn something new. This principle is not about why students are in the classroom, but about why each thing that the teacher teaches them is an important part of the learning. Example: pickle-making lesson:
When I learned to make pickles, my teacher and neighbour, Marilyn, explained: It’s important to soak the cucumbers in ice water over night. This helps make the pickles crisp. If you put a towel under the jars in the canner, they won’t bounce against each other and break. When sterilizing the jars, it’s important to fill each at least halfway with water, AND fill the canner they’re sitting in with water. Too little water and the towel mentioned in the previous bullet will catch on fire. You know this kind of information comes from experience.
Principle 2: Respect that Your Students Have Different Learning Styles
There are three general learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic.
Visual learners rely on pictures, graphs, diagrams, and illustrations. “Show me,” is their motto. They want to know what the subject looks like. Auditory learners listen carefully to all sounds associated with the learning. “Tell me,” is their motto. They will actively participate in discussions. Kinaesthetic learners need to physically do something to understand it. The motto is “Let me do it.” They trust own feelings and emotions about what they’re learning and teaching styles.

Pickle Example: I’m generally a kinaesthetic learner. Marilyn talked to me about her pickling process, explaining why she uses the ingredients she does, and showed me how she dips a liquid measuring cup into the hot brine and pours it into the jar using a wide-mouthed funnel, but my greatest learning came when I fumbled through the second jar all by myself.
Most people use all three styles while they’re learning, and of course, this is logical since we all have five senses, barring any disabilities, but one style almost always is preferred.

Principle 3: Allow Your Students to Experience What They’re Learning
Experience can take many forms. Any activity that gets your students involved makes the learning experiential. This includes small group discussions, experiments, role playing, small plays,, building something at their table or desk, writing or drawing something specific – activity of any kind. Activities also keep people energized, especially activities that involve getting up and moving about. Experiential education can take many forms including: internships, cooperative education, practicums, service learning, externship/job shadowing, apprenticeships, fellowships or scholarships, and volunteer activities. All of these experiences can then be used to build a strong resume. The other aspect of this principle is honouring the life experiences your students bring to the classroom. You’ll have to be a good timekeeper because people can talk for hours when asked for personal experiences, but the extra facilitation needed will be well worth the gems your students have to share.
Pickle Example: Once Marilyn had shown me how to prepare one jar, she busied herself in the kitchen doing her own thing, close enough to keep an eye on me and to answer my questions, but allowing me the autonomy to go at my own speed. When I made mistakes, she didn’t interfere unless I asked. She gave me the space and the time to correct them on my own.

Principle 4: When the Student Is Ready, the Teacher Appears
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears” is a Buddhist proverb. No matter how hard a teacher tries, if the student isn’t ready to learn, chances are good he or she won’t. What does this mean for the teacher of adults? Luckily, adult students are in the classroom because they want to be. They’ve already determined that the time is right.

Pickle Example: My mom canned pickles all during my childhood years, but I had no interest in participating, or even in eating them, sadly. Several years ago, I helped Marilyn can pickles, and even then, I was simply helping and not really learning. When I finally started enjoying pickles and planted my own cucumbers, then I was ready to learn, and Marilyn was right there to teach me.

Principle 5: Encourage Your Adult Students:
For most adults, being out of the classroom for even a few years can make going back to school intimidating. If they haven’t taken a class in decades, it’s understandable that they would have some degree of apprehension about what it will be like and how well they’ll do. Most adults will rise to teacher’s expectations if they’re clear about them.

Pickle example: I’m a worrier. I worried about spilling brine all over Marilyn’s stove, about dropping the full jars as I lifted them out of the hot bath, about making a mess of her kitchen. Marilyn assured me that spills were easily cleaned up, especially when vinegar was involved since it’s used for cleaning anyway! She encouraged me as I gingerly moved boiling hot jars. Throughout the pickle-making process, Marilyn remained calm, unruffled. She paused by me every once in a while to comment, “Oh, don’t they look beautiful!”
/Source: http://adulted.about.com/od/teachers/a/teachingadults.htm /

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7. Community Development

  • We offer training and support to community organizations
  • We ensure that community organizations have sufficient knowledge to be able to contribute to decision making
  • Our facilities can be used by community organizations
  • We help community organizations conduct surveys and consultation exercises through our route to parents and pupils
  • We help community organizations design and manage community based projects

Community Development – our thinking

A Community School is integrated into the life of the neighbourhood and its staff sees it as the hub of community life. The Community School strives to support the involvement of its pupils, their families and the members of the wider community in making decisions about issues which the community faces .The Community School uses local issues as a resource for learning and in its turn is a resource for constructive cooperation with representatives of the local community. It helps local residents acquire the knowledge and skills to be able to tackle local problems and satisfy needs. Comprehensive Community School programs provide opportunities or expertise to work together to improve their own lives and the life of the community. In the process of taking leadership roles and working together, community members discover the diverse talents of fellow residents and develop mutual respect and greater understanding and acceptance of differences.

Nowadays many community problems have become more com­plicated and intractable. The growing number of both dual-income and single­-parent households has created greater demand for day care, early childhood programs, and extended-day services for school-age children. Employment problems, school failure, teen pregnancy, violence, illiteracy, poverty, crime, homelessness, environmental degradation, inter-ethnic tension substance abuse, AIDS, and van­dalism pose enormous challenges to communities. In response, schools in some communities have taken a leadership role in the search for solutions to community problems so that young people grow up in a climate conducive to learning. Local resources are tapped to meet local needs, and people work together to try to improve life in the community.

Why should a community make full use of its school facilities?
School buildings are located in most neighborhoods and are usu­ally easy to reach. Schools belong to the public and represent a large public invest­ment. Schools have good resources and professional expertise. Traditional school hours leave plenty of time for other uses. Through community improvement efforts, members of the community may become involved in litter control, recycling, beautification, and improved education and recreation services, making the community more attractive to both current and prospective residents and businesses. Through citizen involvement, the process of community problem solving is moved closer to the people who understand the problems best and are most likely to identify effective solutions. When a broad range of community resources is used for learning, the central role of the community in the process of education is acknowledged. Young people learn from, and with, their elders, and, in turn, teach them.

Schools become places where learning and living meet. Here are two definitions which you may want to use in your training:

“Community is a social group inhabiting a common territory and having one or more common ties” (Hillary, George.1955. Definitions of Community) “Community Development is a social process by which human beings can become more competent to live with and gain some control over local aspects of a frustrating and changing world. Personal growth through group responsibility is the focus” (Biddle, William W., and LoureideJ.Biddle, 1966. The Community Development Process)

In some countries Community Development work is carried out by specialists and is not the responsibility of the school. Here it is important that the Community School staff works in partnership with community development specialists so that its own work supports development and uses the issues to enhance the curriculum. Where there are serious local challenges, staff at a Community School may have no option but to become directly engaged if they are to ensure that their pupils have are in the right frame of mind to make the most of the learning opportunities on offer. Unless Community Schools play some active role, it will not be possible to measure the impact in terms of economic development and yet most agree that learning and the acquisition of skills and knowledge is an essential element in regeneration. Neither will it be able to demonstrate the contribution it has made to pupils’ understanding of their role as citizens. If in your Community Schools staff will take a lead role in Community Development then here is some basic advice on engaging with the community.

Do’s and don'ts for making contact

Do try to involve as wide a range of people. Do use a variety of methods and networks for making contact - for example, letters, articles in newsletters, speaking at influential local groups and on local radio. Do make sure that written communication is as informal and friendly as possible and available in community languages Do make sure that you engage with community organizations representing various groups. Do make sure that you give people enough information when you first get in touch with them, and that the information is correct. BUT… Don't give out so much information when you first make contact that people feel overwhelmed. Don't consciously exclude any group, but aim to involve all kinds of groups and individuals.
Dos and don'ts for meetings
Do plan what you want to happen in advance (see the sample script on the next page). Do ensure that you have materials which will make the meeting easier - a flip chart, pens, paper, tea and biscuits, basic information and the agenda. Do arrange to greet each arrival personally. Do give out name tags. Do arrange seats before the meeting - a circle is often best. Do demonstrate an ethos of equality and full participation. Do allow everyone to talk without judging their contribution. Do use some group activities so that participants must work together and find their voices Do recap both during the meeting and at the end of it, so that people can see what they have achieved. Do agree on tasks and targets for the next meeting, so that people know what to expect. Do ensure that people enjoy the experience - this, more than anything else, will keep them coming back. Do chase up people who didn't respond, or who came to early meetings but dropped out.
BUT ...Don't overwhelm people with too much information at the start.Don't rule out any contributions which people make. This sends a message to others that if they say something ill-considered they will be vulnerable to ridicule.Don't ruthlessly keep to task at the expense of the needs of the participants to air their views or bond with each other.Don't allow one or two people to dominate. If this emerges as a likely problem, then negotiate ground rules with the group.Don't stifle initiative, even if you feel that someone's ideas are not strictly relevant to the task in hand. This is a learning situation for everyone involved and learning comes from mistakes as well as success.Don't finish with negative feelings in the air.

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8. Parent Engagement

  • ·Communication between the home and school is regular, two-way, and meaningful
  • Parenting skills are promoted and supported · Parents play an active role in students’ learning
  • Parents are equal partners in the decisions that affect their children
  • Parents are advocates for the quality of education for their children

Parent Engagement – our thinking
Community Schools see parents as important, indispensable, and valuable partners in the learning process of students. Partnership and open communication with parents is essential and a critical element in ensuring the quality of the educational process of students. The staff in Community Schools does not see parents as potential opponents, a source of conflict tor as unskilled, passive beneficiary of school services. They understand that such thinking is an obstacle in the process of understanding of this Standard. They do not consider that parents are interfering in the teaching process and or undermining their professional skills because they have developed good communication skills and work well with parents. Even when parents are pressed for time they are still the biggest influence on what children experience and achieve throughout childhood and the teenage years, so the more involved they are with their child(ren)’s life and learning the better.

Examples: “It’s about listening to our views and acting on them…” “It is really important to ask parents what they want…they’re the ones who know the children.” “It’s having a voice in the service provider strategy …. attending meetings within these service groups.” “It’s parents having the opportunity to influence the development of services ….the opportunity to take part and join in.”
Parental Engagement within the Community School is about:
  • Parents using services, joining in and taking part
  • Parents having a say and communicating their views
  • Parents having a role to play in the life of the school and its services
  • Parents and service providers taking action together
  • Parents making or influencing decisions that affect their children
  • Parental Engagement means parents taking an active role in the lives of their children and the Community Schools that provide for them and their children.

The purpose of their engagement is to ensure that Community School and parents work together to help children and young people reach their full potential, enjoy life and have the best experiences they can. Their involvement will help ensure the best provision of all services – educational provision for children and the additional services which the Community School facilitates. We can name many benefits for the parents and schools from their involvement such as:

Main benefits for the parents are:
  • Opportunities to put across parents’ view and preferences.
  • Better information and better access to services.
  • Services are those that parents want and need.
  • Increased confidence in services and their staff.
  • Opportunities to meet other parents and make new friends.
  • More opportunity to share experience and knowledge and to break down any stigmas.
  • Opportunities to work more closely with staff.
  • Greater understanding and expectations of their children.
  • Opportunities to use existing skills and develop new ones, which could help prepare for entry or return to work.
  • A sense of confidence and feeling of personal growth.

Main benefits for services
  • A better understanding of who local parents, children and families are and what their family life is like.
  • Better able to meet and address parents ‘real’ needs.
  • Better relationships with parents – engagement breaks down barriers.
  • Early identification of problems or worries. · Increased take up and use of services.
  • Increased help to improve services.
  • Greater freedom to champion the needs of local children and families.
  • A greater sense of community.
  • Greater accountability to those who use the service.
  • Better communication, better service and fewer complaints
There are different ways that a Community School can engage with parents. These methods can range from telling parents about a service to giving parents the responsibility for running part of the service. Each of the different methods brings about different levels of parent’s empowerment as shown in table4

Information INFORMATION Communicating with parents about the service E.g. telling parents what is available and/or planned; providing feedback about the service’s effectiveness, consultation results, decisions etc..
EDUCATION Providing opportunities for parents to learn how they can promote their child’s development E.g. raising parents’ awareness, developing parent’s skills and knowledge, supporting and challenging parent’s behaviors and/or attitudes.
CONSULTATION Asking parents to comment or express views E.g. seeking opinions about a document, idea or policy
INVOLVEMENT Ensuring parents have an influence on decisions and are part of the decision making process E.g. parents have a role in finding solutions, endorsing and agreeing decisions
PARTNERSHIP Working together as equal partners to carry out work or run parts of the service E.g. parents and staff running parts of the service together, involving parents in providing support for other parents.
DEVOLVED POWER Handing over power and control to parents E.g. giving a group of parents’ sole responsibility for thecontents and production of a newsletter.
Source: http://www.parentandcarerengagement.org.uk
“We get together as a group and come up with ideas to help improve the service – we have a newsletter for parents which was the parents' idea and I produce it” “They have a box – like a suggestion box you can put any ideas or queries in” “Volunteering opportunities within a service, sitting in on meetings and interviews for staff….” “I helped to run a conference for parents and workers to come together”
Service providers working with the Community School may feel confident in using one or two of these methods, but school should aim to provide engagement opportunities across all six methods to ensure that the benefits that engagement brings to services, parents, children and the local community are maximised

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9. School Culture
  • Our senior staff involve pupils, teachers, parents, the wider community and other organizations into the decision making process
  • A team approach is common throughout the school’s activities
  • Teachers use strategies for meaningful learning
  • Teachers develop students' life skills
  • The school acknowledges its accountability in its regular practices
  • Information is shared with аll partners

School Culture – our thinking
Community Schools have a holistic view of the needs of the pupil and the culture of the school will reflect this. The leadership will take into consideration the underlining set of norms, values, beliefs, rituals, and traditions that make up the unwritten rules of how to think, feel, and act in an organization.
Community Schools will be able to present a range of statistics indicating performance - test scores, attendance rates, school rankings, crime rates around the school, reading proficiencies, drop-out rates, measurements of student performance, parents’ attendance or meetings, poverty and unemployment levels, school’s budget, number of students with different kind of disabilities or disadvantaged students. Often this is presented as the whole picture.
School culture represents the "inner reality" of every Community School: its values, curriculum, strategies and methodologies, schedules, demographics, policies, practices, norms, as well as the social interactions that occur among teachers, parents, students, management, wider community and gives a school its atmosphere. It is the culture which leads us to describe a school as “friendly,” or “elite,” or “competitive,” or “inclusive” . It represents the way we “live” and do things in the Community School.
The Community School will ensure that the culture takes into account hopes, joint vision, tradition, decisions making process, ways of communication, (un)- written rules, expectations, a proud heritage, sense of spirit, favorite or special song, celebrations of success, participation, behaviour code, development of professional resources, sense of belonging for all, a positive “can-do” attitude, and so on…
These aspects count a great deal in determining the value of the Community School to the students and the community as well. This really represents School Culture. The list isn’t exhausted and uniform because every Community School is specific and responsible for its own unique School Culture. Research about school efficiency shows areal connection between School Culture and productivity and success. Without a culture that supports and recognizes the importance of a range of learning goals, changes, methodologies, innovations and learning resources, improvements just won’t happen. Community schools develop a positive, collegial, professional community and strong culture, and this ensures productivity flourishes. The style and quality of school leadership is critical to the development of a positive school culture.

Some features of positive School Cultures:
1. There is a need to be a widely shared sense of purpose and values that is consistent and shared between teachers, students, parents, management and local community.
2. There are group norms of continuous learning and school improvement that the group reinforces the importance of learning for all and a focus on continuous improvement in the school.
3. Sense of responsibility for a student’s learning. Quite often we assume that the teachers really believe and feel responsible for student learning. But, in some schools they blame the students or parents for not being successful.
4. Collaborative and collegial relationships most of all among teachers and management, but also among students, parents, community. People share ideas, problems and solutions, they work together to build a better school.
5. Real focus on professional development, and teachers reflection, and sharing of professional practice. An important element of School Culture within the Community School is the meaningful involvement of students.

Their inclusion is crucial in shaping the School Culture. Practice shows that partnership between students and teachers to improve learning, teaching and leadership is positive and effective for all. This means at best students initiate and share decision with teachers. But the point is to reach all children including the poor, marginalized, excluded, etc.…).

12 norms of Schools Culture help us to develop strong School Culture within the Community School.

School Culture norm Example
Collegiality (we help each other, we have similar challenges and needs and different talents and knowledge) *When I was having problems with cliquishness among the girls, I brought it up at lunch and got some excellent ideas from the other teachers. I wasn’t afraid to bring it up because I know people here are on my side. *“I think these people are darn good at what they do. I know I can learn from them and believe I have things to offer in return. Sometimes we evaluate and develop curriculum and plan special projects together
Experimentation (teaching is an intellectual exciting activity. Around here we are encouraged by leadership and colleagues to experiment with new ideas and techniques because that is how teachers and school improve). *We are always looking for more effective ways of teaching. Just last year we published ‘Opening Classroom Doors,’ a booklet with short descriptions of new ideas tried in classrooms. One teacher, for example, shared how she used jigsaw activities to do cooperative learning in social studies.”
High expectations (we are accountable for high performance through regular evaluations, our continued professional development is highly valued by the school community) *We are specifically expected to practice collegiality and to experiment with new ideas.
Trust and confidence ( School directors and parents trust our professional judgements and commitment to improvement) *Parents show confidence in my ability to carry out my professional development and to design instructional activities no matter how effective I already am
Tangible support (when we need help, people extend themselves to help me with both time and resources) *Around here people believe the professional knowledge and skills of teachers are so important to good schooling that developing human resources is a high and continued commitment. Despite financial constraints we still have sabbaticals, summer curriculum workshops, and funds to attend professional conferences.”
Reaching out to the knowledge base (we have knowledge about teaching skills and how students learn; about teaching methods in particular areas, about young people’s cognitive and affective development; about the academic disciplines.) *There is always more to learn, we can respond to that understanding with energy and reach out beyond our classes or our buildings, sharing journals, attending workshops, visiting each other and other sites. The knowledge base about teaching is repertoire of moves and patterns of action in any area, available for anyone to learn, to refine, and to do skilfully.
Appreciation and recognition (we are recognized for our efforts and achievements in the classroom, in the school and in the community) “Good teaching is honoured in this school and community. The other day I found a short note from the principal in my mailbox: ‘When Todd and Charley were rough-housing in the hall you spoke to them promptly and firmly yet treated them maturely by explaining the whys of your intervention. It really makes our grown-up talk about respect mean something when teachers take responsibility for all kids the way you do.’ He just observed that incident for a minute, yet took the time to give me feedback. (Somehow it had more impact in writing, too.) Things like that make me feel there is a real value placed on what I do with students. I am recognized for my efforts and achievements in the classroom and the school.”
Caring, celebration, and humour (there are quite a number of occasions when we show our caring for each other and celebrating benchmarks in the life of the school and the community) Estelle, for example, somehow arranges a 15-minute party with some goody for every teacher – colleague's birthday. We often have these short but satisfying little gatherings in the teacher’s room before the kids come in. There is a lot of humour and laughing together in this school.”
Involvement in decision making (we are involved in certain meaningful decision-making processes, especially when they directly affect us, our kinds or their parents) That doesn’t mean I am consulted on all policies or decisions; but to tell you the truth, I don’t want to be—I’d never get all of my own work done. But when I am consulted, it’s not a phony gesture; my input is taken seriously. And there are mechanisms open for me to raise issues.
Protection of what’s important (our time is important, we inform each other on regular basis through memos, talk on breaks. Meeting are often used for essential issues like curriculum) We don’t even have general meetings in the usual sense…certainly not just for business and announcements. Those needs get covered by memos and word-of-mouth contact with the principal. When we do meet, it is for curriculum and instruction purposes, often in small groups like the study group on learning styles I was in last spring.”
Traditions (our traditions exist both in the curriculum as grade level projects or activities, and as recurrent events within the life of the school) “There is always something special to look forward to as I scan the calendar. Be it a fair, a trip, or a science Olympiad, there are events coming up that students, teachers and parents alike see as refreshing or challenging and a definite change of pace. Some of these traditions are rooted in ceremony, others in activity.
Honest, open communication (in our school people can disagree and discuss, confront and resolve matters in a constructive manner and still are supportive to each other) “I take responsibility for sending my own messages. I can speak to my colleagues and administrators directly and tactfully when I have a concern or a beef without fear of losing their esteem or damaging our relationship. And I can listen to criticism as an opportunity for self-improvement without feeling threatened.”

Source: http://www.smallschoolsproject.org/pdfs/culture.pdf

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