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The Intangibles: What It Really Takes To Manage An Effective School

Session 2
Chris Johnson

During our childhood, there were moments when we felt particularly safe (or unsafe) in school, when we felt particularly connected to a caring adult, when we felt particularly engaged in meaningful learning (or not). These are the school memories that we all tend to vividly remember: good and/or bad. It is not surprising that these kinds of experiences shape learning and development.

However, effective schools are larger than any one person's experience. When the schools community work together, a group process emerges that is bigger than any one person's actions. A comprehensive assessment of school climate and culture includes major aspects of school life such as safety, relationships, teaching and learning, and the environment as well as larger organizational patterns (e.g. from fragmented to shared; healthy or unhealthy). How we feel about being in school and these larger group trends shape learning and student development. A positive school climate is associated with academic achievement, effective risk prevention efforts and positive youth development.

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