Shaping a culture of continuous improvement

Dennis Sparks

Building an improved professional culture is possible by developing teachers’ capacities to work with teacher teams on shared beliefs, academic focus, and productive relationships. — Jon Saphier, Matt King, & John D’Auria

Jon Saphier and colleagues have condensed a great deal of meaning into one sentence.

  • Administrators and teacher leaders have a fundamental responsibility to create a professional culture that continuously improves teaching and learning for the benefit of all students and ensures that all members of the school community — students, parents, teachers, and administrators — are surrounded by supportive relationships.  Culture building is a challenging and never-ending task that cannot be delegated nor ignored.
  • Leadership and teaching practices are shaped and sometimes determined by shared beliefs about students’ capacity for learning and teachers’ ability to successfully teach them.
  • The primary means of continuous improvement is strong teamwork founded on trusting, productive relationships. Those relationships require constant tending to avoid the decline that is inevitable if they are ignored.

What, If anything, did Saphier and his colleagues overlook?

4 Responses to “Shaping a culture of continuous improvement”


  1. 1 Kent Peterson January 21, 2015 at 10:30 am

    It is always good to return to key ideas about school improvement–and shaping a positive culture is one of them.

    Briefly, I would add that leaders and staff should celebrate, in small and larger ways, the progress they are making in school improvement. This primes the pump, generates energy, and begins to reinforce the beliefs that improvement is possible.

    Great post!

  2. 3 elena di giovanni January 21, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    thought you’d like this one too [?]

  3. 4 elena di giovanni January 21, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    sorry Dennis – was sending that little icon and forwarding it to a colleague but i see it went directly to you inadvertently hitting send ….. we are planning a pro d session for our school and we are incorporating your posts ! – the [?] icon could be taken either way – ha ha – but i just wanted you to know it was with best intentions ! I enjoy your posts very much

    kind regards Elena

    On Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 11:46 AM, elena di giovanni wrote:

    > thought you’d like this one too [?] > > On Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 2:03 AM, Dennis Sparks on Leading and Learning <


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