Strength-Based: Background & Overview
As part of the Gates Foundation High School Grant, the CTA IFT interviewed over 800 African American and Latino highly successful students and their parents. The purpose of the interviews was to determine how these students and parents described a successful teaching and learning environment. Interview results revealed seven factors driving a culture of success. Click here for more information.
Based on this work, the CTA IFT established communications with the Cultural Change Institute at Tufts University. The goal of the Cultural Change Institute is to accelerate political, economic, and social development in poor countries and among underachieving groups in the advanced democracies. The Cultural Change Institute examines how cultural values and attitudes influence progress as well as provide assistance to governments and non-governmental organizations interested in promoting the values, beliefs, and attitudes associated with progress.
The bottom-line for teachers and the public schools is that instead of searching for various programmatic and structural changes to improve our schools, the solution or remedy might lie in our schools and classrooms, unnoticed and unobserved. Over the last 15 years, millions of government and foundation dollars have supported hundreds of school reform movements in curriculum, instruction, professional development, and school organizational structure (i.e. smaller learning communities). Most of these reform efforts have focused on a common problem solving approach: needs analysis of what is wrong or lacking in schools, followed by research into best practice to address these problems, and then design and implementation of plans to find solutions or problems. This process has achieved moderate or temporary results in some low performing schools, but according to numerous public and private studies and reports, the overall results and improvements in our public schools have been less than dramatic.
Factors Driving a Culture of Success
By talking with the highest performing African American and Latino students and their parents, the CTA IFT identified what they consider to be great about their schools, teachers, families, and communities. From this information we begin to have a glimpse of what works best in our school community.
Below are the seven factors identified as driving a culture of success:
1. Focusing on the Future
2. Strengthening the Work Ethic
3. Expanding Family-School Relations
4. Strengthening the Social Ethic
5. Valuing Child Rearing Practices
6. Encouraging System-Wide Thinking
7. Moving to a Learning-Centered Environment
Cultural of Success Workshop