How to Build a Positive School Culture: 10 Do’s and Don’ts from the Pros

17 May 2024 | By viviedu


Looking to create a vibrant, connected community where students and staff thrive? You’re in the right place! Vivi recently hosted a webinar, “Building a Positive School Culture,” filled with valuable insights on enhancing your school’s environment.

The webinar, led by Juliana Finegan, VP of Educator Experience at Vivi, featured three expert panelists:

These educators shared their top strategies for creating a supportive and engaging school culture. From boosting communication to celebrating achievements, they showed how technology like Vivi can make a difference. Whether it’s energizing morning announcements or streamlining emergency alerts, Vivi is your go-to solution for fostering a positive and inclusive school atmosphere.

In this blog, we’ll dive into the do’s and don’ts for building a stellar school culture, based on the wisdom shared in the webinar. Get ready for practical tips, real-life examples, and plenty of inspiration to make your school the best it can be!

Do’s for building a positive school culture

1. Do celebrate achievements, big and small

Celebrating both major milestones and everyday successes is a game-changer for building a positive school culture. It’s about making everyone feel valued and recognized.

Juliana emphasized the importance of celebration: “We definitely needed more of this post-Covid.” Recognizing the big wins and the small daily victories can lift spirits and boost morale.

Take a cue from Zackary at Zion Benton. He shared a heartwarming example of celebrating student achievements: “Our girls’ soccer team won a tournament, and their photo with the trophy was displayed on screens throughout the school. Seeing their faces light up when they saw themselves on the screen was priceless.” Moments like these create a sense of pride and community.

2. Do use technology for effective communication

Effective communication is the backbone of a positive school culture. Vivi’s tools can make this process seamless and engaging.

Juliana noted, “Communication can be one of these big levers.” Clear, consistent communication builds trust and keeps everyone on the same page. Zackary highlighted how Zion Benton uses Vivi’s digital signage to keep students informed about important information like finals schedules and bus timings. “You would think that high school students check their emails every day, but that is not always the case,” he said. Digital signage increases the likelihood of messages being seen.

3. Do make morning announcements engaging

Morning announcements don’t have to be boring! Make them interactive and fun to engage students and start the day on a high note.

Keri shared how morning announcements have become a beloved part of the day at Alan B. Shepard Elementary School: “The kids see us in the lunchroom and say, ‘Hey! That announcement this morning was hilarious!’ They absolutely love it.” By involving students in the announcements, Keri and Reid create a lively and inclusive atmosphere.

4. Do encourage student participation

Involving students in various school activities is crucial for building a connected community. Give them opportunities to participate and shine.

Reid discussed the “ACES” program at Alan B. Shepard, which recognizes outstanding student behavior: “On Fridays, we announce the ACE of the week, and they get to ride a scooter around the school to collect behavior tickets.” This fun and unusual program celebrates good behavior and adds a bit of adventure at the end of the school week.

5. Do create visual reminders

Visual communication tools can be a powerful way to keep everyone informed and engaged. Use technology like Vivi to create eye-catching and informative displays.

Zackary shared how Zion Benton leverages digital signage for visual reminders. “We use Vivi to remind them about important things that are happening in our school,” he noted. Whether it’s event reminders, student achievements, or important announcements, visual displays can capture attention and keep everyone in the loop.

By incorporating these do’s into your school’s routine, you can create a more positive, engaging, and connected environment for everyone.

Collage showing the various uses of digital signage in schools

Examples of digital signage used at Zion Benton and Alan B. Shepard

Don’ts for building a positive school culture

1. Don’t underestimate the importance of fun and engagement

School culture isn’t just about rules and achievements; it’s also about making the environment enjoyable and engaging for students and staff. Focusing solely on academics and discipline can make the school experience monotonous. Monotony is never a path to engagement.

Keri shared one of their fun initiatives, “Popcorn Fridays.” Students earn tiger tickets for demonstrating positive behavior, following school rules, or exhibiting the school’s core values. Then, they trade in tickets for popcorn. It’s a fun way to reward positive behavior and let loose a little bit. And, according to Keri, students love it.

2. Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins

While big achievements are often celebrated, overlooking the small daily wins can diminish morale and leave out some members of your community. Recognizing and celebrating these smaller victories can have a significant impact on school culture.

Juliana mentioned the importance of daily celebrations: “Celebrations and building connections are also key components.” By acknowledging the small, everyday successes, you create a culture of appreciation and positivity that motivates students and staff alike.

3. Don’t overlook the need for emergency preparedness

Ignoring the importance of clear and effective communication during emergencies can lead to confusion and panic. Make sure your school is prepared and that everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.

Keri shared how Vivi plays a crucial role in their emergency preparedness: “We use it to initiate our alerts when we have emergency drills. It’s just a quick way to communicate and ensure everyone is safe.” Having a reliable system in place for emergency communication is vital for maintaining a secure school environment.

4. Don’t ignore staff buy-in

One of the biggest hurdles in implementing new tools and strategies is gaining staff buy-in. If teachers and staff are not on board, even the best plans can fall flat.

Zackary highlighted this challenge, noting, “Our typical setup was HDMI hookups, and there was some resistance to change.” Overcoming this required patience and support. Providing adequate training and demonstrating the benefits of new technology like Vivi helped ease the transition. After this, “Vivi became indispensable” says Zackary.

5. Don’t forget to foster a culture of experimentation

Encourage your staff to try new things and not fear mistakes. A culture of experimentation can lead to innovative solutions and continuous improvement.

Zackary emphasized the importance of being open to experimentation: “User error is common, but as long as you keep trying, it will work out.” By fostering an environment where staff feel comfortable experimenting, you can maximize the benefits of new technologies and strategies.

Let’s build a better school culture together

Creating a positive school culture means leveraging tools like Vivi to celebrate achievements, enhance communication, make morning announcements engaging, encourage student participation, and provide visual reminders. At schools like Alan B. Shepard Elementary School and Zion Benton High School, excitement for Vivi is spreading. “We’re encouraging other schools in our district to adopt Vivi,” Keri shared.

Ready to see these benefits in action? Watch the recording of the webinar below for more insights.

Want to experience the benefits of Vivi for yourself? Book a demo and discover how Vivi can help build a positive, thriving environment for your students and staff.