Building Positive School Culture Film Clips

Filmed by Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen

Filmed by Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen

Video clips 1-2: Comments by Dr. Alan Heisterkamp
Creating and sustaining positive school culture and climate starts at the top – with school leaders who promote messages of inclusion and hospitality to all students. But it doesn’t stop there. True leaders are able to reflect on where they have been as an individual or on the unique challenges they have faced, but then look ahead to where they want to be. True educational leaders are capable of modeling for young teens the regrets and mistakes of the past, yet be encouraging and motivating for themselves and others to forge ahead and seek new starts.  

Sharing leadership is a risky and challenging, albeit, delicate proposition to manage in schools today – especially when it involves alliances and partnerships with our students. However, the benefits far outweigh the risks – believe it. Older, more mature students are worth their weight in gold when it comes to promoting positive school culture and climate or, establishing learning environments free from bullying and abuse. Sharing the responsibility of building respectful places of learning and growing is just a good thing to do – it’s the right thing to do. 

Mentoring – an old tradition – can enrich the lives of all who partake. When we feel heard and respected by others we become less defensive and resistant to change. Knowing that someone cares about you, sees the ‘good’ in you, or is concerned about your well being can make all the difference in the world. Reaching out to others in need, demonstrating empathy and compassion, or just listening to someone share their frustration and disappointment is what makes a school a ‘real place’ for kids in which to navigate. Adults and older students possess the unique opportunity to come together – in partnership – to make schools safe and healthy for every student who attends. 


Filmed by Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen

West video clip 3 – Comments by Cindy Waitt
This dance scene has always been a favorite, as it shows how school culture can change over time. The students here are commenting on leadership and school climate, which is a key driver for success in violence prevention mentoring. Adults who are truly committed to faithfully implementing programs over time have a huge influence on student mentors, who then commit their own time to changing culture for younger students.