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Urban schooling: school mission and culture audit protocol

 

Choose an urban school (elementary, middle or secondary) to conduct an environmental/cultural
audit. You are expected to spend time on the school?s website; review educational reports,
school/district newsletters, curricular/extra-curricular offerings, fundraising appeals, special
reports, other media, etc.
A. Is the school mission clearly communicated? Mission refers to the broad, overall, longterm purpose of the school which guides institutional priorities and practices in ways that
are consistent with the expectations of stakeholders (district, parents, students, etc.).
1. What is the school?s mission?
a. Where and in what form is evidence of the mission to be found?
b. What is not included in the school?s mission?
c. How and to whom is the mission communicated?
2. How do members of the school describe the mission?
a. What similarities and differences exist among these descriptions?
b. To what extent do you think students, teachers, and parents have shared
understanding of the school?s philosophy?
3. From your research, to what degree do you think the school is committed to the
appreciation, encouragement, and enhancement of multiculturalism with respect to race,
ethnicity, class, gender, physical abilities, and world views? From your review of the
school?s website and other documents, how are these commitments manifested in the
mission, philosophy, and practices?School Culture
B. By broadly conceptualizing school culture, highlight how the school?s culture promotes
student engagement, learning, and success?
a. From your research, what traditions, events, programs introduce and socialize students to
the core values of the school?
b. What opportunities exist to celebrate school community? What role do students play in
these celebrations/programs?
c. What language is used to communicate the importance of students and their learning?
d. Is the language of the school culture inclusive and embracing or alienating?
e. Does the language of the school culture communicate respect or disrespect for individuals
and individual differences?
f. Is it inclusive of parents and other community-based programming?
g. How do you think newcomers learn the language of the school?
h. What symbols and symbolic actions communicate the importance of out-of-class
experiences to student learning?
i. What is communicated about student life to prospective students and parents, and in what
ways?
j. What is communicated about expectations for student behavior at school?
k. From your research, what messages and school values are communicated by other
cultural artifacts, such as mascots, mottoes, traditions, stories, school history, myths, etc.?
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