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The Hidden/ Experienced Curriculum

Nikki Hu

EDAD 632

October 25, 2017

School Climate

School climate is based on the experience that all the stakeholders (parents, students,

teachers, staff) have at their school and how they view their school community. School climate

reflects the norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and

how the school community can create and maintain a positive school culture to make it so

learning can take place. These views might be different based on the longevity at the school,

passed encounters with school staff, and the investment one has in the school. To gauge the

school climate at my school interviews were done with a new teacher and a teacher that has

maintained longevity at the school and a survey was also presented to some students.

I spoke with a 3rd grade teacher that has been at the school for 18 years and asked

questions regarding norms, values, goals, interpersonal relationships and organizational

structures. This teacher had a positive outlook on how our school culture is viewed in our

community and shared that she hears nothing but good reports on how we serve our students.

She expressed that many of our teachers give out their personal numbers to parents for texting

and others use school social apps as well. This creates an approachable staff where parents can

keep up to date on school activities in which busy schedules would not otherwise allow. With

open communication between parents and teachers our school has built trust with our families

and shows that we have their child’s best interests at heart ultimately creating a school

community where families feel they are a part of their student’s learning. This brings me to

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The Hidden/ Experienced Curriculum

when I asked her about interpersonal relationships at the school and she said that Professional

Learning Communities (PLC) have created more opportunities to meet with other grade levels.

Our grade levels teams are efficient but working or interacting with other grades is challenging

because of our staggered lunch times and very small break room. We are on the forefront of

PLCs in our district and are in full implementation which communicates that we want all

children to learn. Our school’s focus is about holding students to the rigor and even though our

school has been referred to as the “homeless school,” as we serve many students that reside in

the local rehab facility and have families that are displaced for a multitude of reasons, we are

also known as a high achieving school with standard testing results that have surpassed most

schools in the district. Lastly, I agree with her that positivity is a norm we have and want to

maintain. To remain student-centered and achieve goals like all will learn, we need staff to

remain positive and strive to work together to create a learning environment that meets the

student’s needs and values them for their strengths and guides them towards working through

their weaknesses.

I spoke with a first-year teacher regarding her experience and views on school climate as

a new member of our school. She indicated that the school climate is inviting and everyone is

approachable and friendly towards her. She sees that grade level teams group together and sees

everyone as having a positive attitude with common goals of students learning. She realizes that

some students come with a reputation either it be for their behavior or learning challenges and

that you need to make your own impressions of the student without going in with preconceived

notions. This brings me to our school climate consisting of a community of educators striving to

be open minded and think outside the box on ways to help students become successful. That

means students having varied instruction and pushing into other classrooms or grade levels that

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The Hidden/ Experienced Curriculum

are teaching skills that they need. She also indicated that our students may only get morals and

values taught to them at school and we need to teach them how to be rule followers and how to

act for them to be contributing members of society. I agree that we must teach them social

appropriateness both formally and informally for them to be able to learn from large group

instruction and hopefully transfer this learning outside of school. We have character coaches,

second step curriculum and interrupt lessons to address social skills development at times to

utilize those teachable moments. That means that all staff work with students on following

school rules and practicing prosocial behaviors because we have a shared goal of teaching them

values and the hidden curriculum of becoming decent, productive human beings.

To gauge how students feel about their school climate I asked a group of fourth and fifth

graders to complete a survey. I read the questions and they were able to ask for clarification on

the survey items. In the area of safety all students responded that they felt safe at school and all

but one felt comfortable enough to talk to adults at school about things that were bothering them.

Respect was an area that they felt they received from staff, showed their teachers and that their

parents demonstrated to teachers as well. It was interesting because they felt that students did

not respect one another and felt that the students were not well behaved at school like they

should be. They also reported that it is common for students to tease and insult one another.

Additionally, they indicated being proud to attend their school and that they strive to do their

very best to learn. After compiling these results, I was pleased that these students spoke of their

school in a positive way, but it did alarm me that there is room for improvement in terms of how

the students treat one another.

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