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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.