School Culture

School Culture

Greenwood Leadership Academy has a definite “feel” to it. The culture is professional, focused and disciplined, but encourages scholars to question while being respectful. School rituals and routines, called GLA 101, support scholars in becoming a wonderful mix of purposeful, responsible, organized and joyful.

School Uniforms: The tone for our culture of excellence and professionalism is set by our school uniforms. Scholars are required to come to school each day looking sharp and crisp in their GLA uniform: a white button up shirt, gray pants for boys and navy/gray checkered dress for girls, a navy/gray checkered tie, and (when necessary) a navy sweater. Parents have the discretion to choose which shoes and socks scholars wear. Scholars who arrive to school out of uniform will be sent to principal’s office and parents will be called to bring appropriate uniform to the school.

Morning Seminar: Starts our day off right. Teachers deliver an inspirational message to scholars and assign roles to their homeroom scholars to lead in the pledges and chants of the school, and to make the day’s announcements.

Greeting Scholars: Warm and firm is the tone and professional is the culture. Teachers greet each scholar at the door with a handshake or fist bump, and then students enter a structured classroom in which they SLANT: Sit up, Listen attentively, Ask and answer questions; Nod when you understand; and Track the speaker.

Classroom Environment: Each classroom has the same items on the board: date, agenda, and homework. The walls display posters of school procedures such as the High Five Hand Signals, 4 Rs (Respect for Elders, Respect for Self, Respect for Others, and Respect for Community) and GLA Pledge. Every classroom has a word wall with the terminology of the class. Every teacher tracks behavior and academics in the room.

Classroom Ambassadors: Scholars take pride in their learning. Anytime a visitor comes to a classroom door, a designated scholar will walk to the door to greet them as the classroom ambassador, introduce herself by name while keeping eye contact, and describe the day’s lesson.

High Five + 1: These hand signals allow scholars to communicate their needs without disrupting class. The index finger raised means: “I have a question.” Two fingers raised means: “I need materials.” Three fingers means: “Restroom break, please.” Four fingers means: “I know the answer!” Five fingers means: “I need attention NOW.” Scholars also knock in the air to indicate agreement.

Hallway Transitions: As scholars change classes, teachers monitor them at all times for the safety of our scholars and to minimize disruptions to classes in session. If scholars must wait a few minutes in the hallway, they study (Study Zone) or Drop Everything And Read (DEAR).

Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs): Each class has at least one quantitative and one qualitative big goal each quarter that is audacious, feasible and measurable.

Planned Homework and Assessments: Every grade level at GLA plans out weekly homework assignments and assessments, so that scholars and parents know what to expect.

Built-in Remediation and Intervention: Teachers use real-time data to determine whether a few students need some extra help understanding the lesson, whether the whole class needs to hear the lesson again, or if everyone understands and is ready to move on to the next lesson. Data also guides tutoring schedules, review objectives, and intervention.

Restorative Justice Practices: Whenever there is a breach or violation of our school rules and classroom norms, along with meting out the requisite consequence, staff and teachers will engage students and all other appropriate stakeholders in restorative justice practices that seek to repair broken barriers and build strong relationships while creating a safe, productive learning environment for all.

This foundation sets the tone for the high expectations for excellence we have for all GLA faculty, and our high behavioral and academic expectations for all GLA scholars.