Student Culture Begins with Adult Culture

If you know anything about me, you know I believe that student culture begins with adult culture.  

For a network leader, the first day of school brings so many emotions. As I walked around our beautiful new building, I was inspired because I observed our team living our values like optimism, and creating authentic positivity and a joy of learning.  

At DPA, on day one, we expect teachers to begin teaching the curriculum and students to begin practicing habits of learning. 

So as I walked around, I was excitedly looking for three specific teacher practices and routines of learning that we emphasized throughout our 100+ hours of summer professional development.   

Speak with a strong voice. Our team communicates with confidence and clarity so that scholars know exactly what is expected of them and feel a sense of urgency to get work done. 
Give scholars the criteria for success. This means setting the bar high for excellence and not accepting “good” as good enough.  
Circulate with purpose. Scholars should be doing the hard work while the teacher is ensuring all students are on task and checking for understanding.  
It’s one thing to talk about these best practices in a summer PD session; it’s another thing to see it happening across our 22 classrooms serving 540 scholars. 

English teachers taught all sixth graders a lesson on archaeology. The teachers started the class describing archaeology and the hands-on lesson plan. They displayed six photos of archaeological sites and artifacts throughout the room, and students did a gallery walk. Students shared out what they observed and read a grade-level article about each photo. On day one!

These ideas aren’t new or revolutionary, and we still have so many areas to grow, but that doesn’t make me any less inspired by seeing our team practice the values we preach.  

Tell me about your day one or week one lesson. What are some of the habits of learning that you tried to instill in your students?

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