While culture & climate are closely related, they are not the same thing. Culture consists of the shared values, expectations, and ways of being in a school community. Climate is the way members of the school community perceive and experience these norms.Culture & climate are often believed to be subjective, ineffable even. However, nothing is more tangible, more real, than a school community's culture & climate.
"You can tell a school's culture & climate as soon as you walk in the door," Rowland Foundation Founder & Past Executive Director Chuck Scranton often says. Culture & climate can be seen, heard, and felt everywhere in a school. Culture & climate show up in the messages and artwork on the walls, and in the way physical spaces are laid out, assigned, and controlled. You can tell a school's culture & climate by hearing how students speak to each other, how teachers and students interact, and how the "support staff" are addressed. A school's culture & climate are defined by the types of questions being asked, by the books on display, and by the way the course catalog grants access (or doesn't) to learning. Culture & climate are also revealed in the way that classrooms are configured, in the assignment of different wings of the school to different purposes, and in the ease with which school community members can pass through these spaces, or even access natural light and the outdoors.At the Rowland Foundation, we believe that a healthy, positive school culture & climate are reflected in the following benchmarks:
The Rowland Foundation believes that systemic change, the kind that can alter a school's culture and enhance its climate for learning, is derived from visionary leadership within the school. Deep and lasting change of this kind, cannot be mandated, downloaded, or implemented in a linear fashion-it must be co-constructed with all stakeholders in a school community. Transformational change comes from meaningful, sustained collaboration between teachers, students, school leaders, and local community partners.
The Rowland Foundation believes that teacher leadership, innovation, and collaboration lead to positive change. To this end the Rowland Foundation will offer up to six fellowships to Vermont secondary or middle grades teachers each year. The Foundation seeks proposals in which a teacher and the principal/head of school form a clear partnership to improve an element of the school which will profoundly impact students by enhancing the institution's culture and climate. The Rowland Fellow will assume the key leadership role in the initiative's development and realization with support from the Rowland Foundation and its Executive Director.