Design Principle #2: School Culture
A School Culture that Sets Students Up for Success
While the careful design of the academic program is important, it is not the sole driver of student success. Achieving the mission depends equally upon establishing a school community in which everyone shares a deep commitment to one another’s success. At PUC Schools, collaboration is the norm. Faculty, students, families, and community partners work together to solve problems and improve results. Teachers and students are empowered to take risks and are not afraid to admit mistakes or ask for help. Such an environment encourages effort and persistence from even the most discouraged learners who enter the school.
This demanding but nurturing culture sets PUC Schools apart from other schools that provide a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum for underserved students but lose many students who are discouraged by the academic difficulty. PUC’s holding power- its ability to deliver a rigorous college- preparatory program without significant attrition- is perhaps its most note worthy accomplishment.
- Clear student behavioral norms based on professional norms
- Formal introduction and mentoring of new students
- Faculty commitment to “break down” complex material
- Multiple modes of academic support
- Consistent adult modeling of core values
- Faculty commitment to motivate and inspire students
- Construction of peer culture that supports each other’s success
- Family involvement that supports student success
- University & college partnerships that reinforce college-going culture