School pride: You can feel it as soon as you walk in the school gates. It might mean different things to different people but, for most students, it translates as a feeling of strong connection to the school or being proud to represent the school and the values it stands for. While school pride may feel like an elusive quality to define, it is a key ingredient for student and staff success. Luckily, there are practical, tried and tested strategies that can help grow and develop school pride. This week on School Stream, we look at five tried and tested ways schools are instilling a sense of pride in their students and staff, so they feel like they belong to something greater than themselves.
Parents and Business Managers love School Stream. See how easy it is to communicate with your school community in this short video or keep reading for our overview on fostering school pride.
Why is school pride important?
School pride is an important part of building a successful school community. When students have pride in their school it gives them a sense of ownership which sets in motion a range of positive behaviours. Research has found “When students have a direct stake in something, they have more determination to complete what they are doing successfully and generally take it more seriously.” This in turn supports increased student engagement and achievement. A white paper published in the United States found that “Students with school spirit do more than show support for their school. They perform better academically, are more socially and civically engaged, and are happier in general than their less-spirited peers. What’s more, the majority of principals (92%) feel that high school spirit is tied to high student achievement.” Clearly, a strong sense of school pride is a win for everyone. The following five ideas from schools around the world are sure to inspire.
1. Celebrate all your school’s unsung heroes
We all know how hard teachers and other school staff work to deliver world-class education. Office staff, business managers, maintenance staff, grounds people, canteen staff, librarians, bus drivers, teaching assistants, school support officers and school counsellors are the unsung heroes of schools. Celebrating their invaluable contributions alongside teachers not only motivates them to keep them doing their best but also sets an example to students that everyone’s contributions are important. Be it sorting out the recycling, running the school office or helping students safely transport their awkward school project off the bus, teamwork makes the dream work.
2. Hit refresh on school branding
You may have seen articles in education media about Warwick Farm Public School and their commitment to developing a sense of belonging and pride in their school community. One facet of their project included updating the school uniform, refreshing their signage and giving their facilities a significant upgrade to signal a ‘visible and symbolic’ renewal. Principal Melanie Macmillan is thrilled with the results: ‘The kids now, they look amazing! A quick refresh of any aspect of your branding contributes to school pride. From a lick of paint, to a design overhaul of your school newsletter, a shiny new anything at school can lift students’ spirits.
Hot tip! An easy shortcut for School Stream schools to hit refresh on school branding is to include a Branded Home Screen. There are three professionally designed layouts to choose from that will give your school’s image a real boost. Click to learn more about one of our most popular features.
3. Parental engagement & School Spirit
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, when it comes to educating kids and teens, it takes a village. But did you know this goes for school pride too? From the same white paper we referred to earlier: “Nearly all high school principals (93%) say that parents are more involved in their child’s education when their child has a strong sense of school spirit.” And as we all know from personal experience, when parents and caregivers are involved in their child’s education, it makes a significant and positive impact on their child’s academic and wellbeing outcomes.
4. Celebrate your school’s history
Schools, by their very nature, are content-rich environments. There is always a good news story to share, a win to celebrate or an event to promote, but when it comes to school pride it also helps to look to the past. If your school has a rich and storied history – and all schools do – consider sharing historical details such as successful alumni, influential teachers or significant events from the life of your school via the school newsletter or a history board displayed in a prominent location.
5. Embrace Visible Leadership
Our last example comes again from Warwick Farm Public School. The commitment by the school’s executive to emulate ‘visible leadership’ is another great success story in how to develop a sense of belonging and pride in both students and staff. Principal Melanie Macmillan and her team are on duty every day from 8.30 am to welcome families and kids, and this intentional and welcoming strategy is in place to help students feel that school is a safe and supportive place to be. “It just means that we’re very approachable – we’re there for any parent at any time, any child at any time, you can ask any questions, we can solve things really quickly. They tell me incidents from classrooms, parents ask how to make a payment, all of those sorts of things. It generally means that we’re not only physically visible but that we’re available, and that’s been a huge success.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed the overview on school pride.
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