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Book:  Culturize

Author:  Jimmy Casas

Purchase:  Print | eBook | Audiobook

Citation: Casas, J. (2017). Culturize : every student, every day, whatever it takes. San Diego, California: Dave Burgess Consulting, Incorporated.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. When it comes to culturizing a school district, the first step is ensuring staff members look forward to coming to work each day. (pg. 85)

  2. If the story of your school is being told by people who don’t have a connection to it, then you probably need to change your approach. (pg. 127)

  3. At times I have been criticized for seeing things through rose colored glasses.  But I choose not to be like those who are unhappy or others who look weary and tired.  That sounds like too much of a job to me. I did not become an educator so I could become negative, bitter, or even cynical. (pg. 171)


Other Key Ideas:

Getting to know our student on a more personal level is vital to creating a classroom culture where every child feels valued and understood; however, too often we stay near the surface treading water rather than diving deeper. (pg. 27)

Lack of confidence, in my opinion, is the number one reason kids fail. (pg. 31)

Establishing a trusting relationship with struggling students allows them to feel comfortable enough to share their personal struggles.  This kind of relationship is a must if you are going to help students experience success. (pg. 34)

It’s easy to dismiss students’ concerns about workloads or consequences as whining or complaining because, let’s face it, sometimes kids complain.  Listen to kids anyway, and even if it sounds like whining or complaining, resist the reflex to cut them off. (Let’s be honest here: Sometimes we adults can be just as likely to complain when we don’t like something.) (pg. 42)

Relationships with others are the most important factor in cultivating a culture of trust and influence.  Approach each situation with an understanding that at the heart of every problem is a conversation to be had. (pg. 44)

No matter what program your school implements, the first step is to recognize that the adults in your organization are the silver bullet. (pg. 52)

How many referrals that were written by staff members originated with a comment, response, interaction, or behavior actually served to provoke a student, resulting in a behavioral referral to the office? (pg. 52)

Let’s embrace new technology reality and work on how to better leverage such tools...Let’s stop placing blame on devices and start expecting more of ourselves as leaders. (pg. 79)

Many of the issues schools face today are deeply embedded in how people communicate, neglect to communicate in a timely fashion, or fail to communicate all together.  Most of the negativity, harsh feelings, and unnecessary work that is endured in schools can be tied back to poor communication. (pg. 81)

If there is a concern or issue that needs to be addressed, it is better to have the conversation in person rather than via email.  If you receive a contentious online communication, respond by asking if you can meet face-to-fact to discuss the concern. (pg. 82)

Avoid sarcasm and defensiveness. Never ask a student to repeat an inappropriate comment you clearly heard the first time because you are upset and want to use it as ammunition to punish the offender. (pg. 83)

I don’t think we can ever go wrong with over-communicating if we are doing it effectively.  (pg. 84)

​​Building real trust takes time.  It’s done by not taking things personally, by not becoming defensive, and by trying not to offer an explanation (or excuse) every time you hear something you don’t like.  Listen and accept the feedback you asked for when you asked to be trusted. (pg. 87)

Leaders should not delegate team building responsibility to others.  No matter how many team-building activities you do or how many facilitators you bring in, the results won’t be there unless you model what it means to be part of a team. (pg. 88)

When someone shares a concern be sure to follow up, communicate a plan, and then act.  Demonstrate that you value your team members’ opinions and feedback and are willing to follow through with action. (pg. 89)​​

Every interaction with a student, parent, or staff member is one single moment to inspire most positive interactions and to impact every person they encounter in a positive way.  (pg. 99)

A person who feels valued and appreciated will always do and give more than what is expected.  Educators understand the significance of a simple thank you, pat on the back, handwritten note, or an occasional gift that comes with a personal touch. (pg. 100)​​

Constant complaining and speaking negatively about kids, staff, work environment, etc. without offering a solution is a poorer reflection on you than those about whom you are complaining.  Bring positive energy every day. (pg. 148)

When a colleague or staff member approaches you with an idea they are clearly excited about, your charge is to make sure that when the person leaves they are more excited about their idea than they were before they met with you. (pg. 176)

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