Page 11 - Volume 6 - Issue 1 - DBU Journal for K-12 Educational Leadership

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 9 hiring practices seek to determine not only the potential employee’s competency for the job but also the individual’s fit with the mission, vision, and values of the school. Employees, especially teachers, play a significant role in bolstering or weakening school culture, according to participants. The policies and parameters around hiring serve as guard rails to prevent hiring decisions that could jeopardize the school culture. Similarly, parameters for the removal of an employee who threatens the school’s culture must also be established and enforced. Participants also affirmed the idea that stringent admission guidelines should be established to prevent the admission of students who do not align with the culture of the school despite being an otherwise good fit. Again, policies and procedures for admission must be well-established and must consider the fit of the student and the family with the values and beliefs of the school. With regard to both human resources and admission policies, administrators must recognize their actions as inviting new stakeholders into the school community. As stakeholders build relationships within and between stakeholder groups, values and beliefs will be influenced to either support the mission of the school or weaken it. The benefit of this careful attention to onboarding stakeholders is the galvanizing effect they will have upon one another through the reinforcement of the values and beliefs of the community. Lastly, with the recognition of the threat that scandal represents to school culture, schools should establish a proactive plan for how they will deal with scandal. This plan creates an opportunity for the scandal to strengthen the culture based on a response aligned to the mission of the school. Recommendations The results of the current study represented the consensus of a panel of chief administrators from private Christian schools across the United States, as well as a framework of best practices that define cultural integrity in that context. Private Christian school administrators should: • Recognize the significance of leadership in the intentional actions taken to maintain the cultural integrity of the school. • Develop and frequently communicate a strong mission statement reflecting the values and beliefs of the school. • Implement an intentional biblical integration plan reflective of the mission statement. • Implement an intentional spiritual development plan reflective of the mission statement. • Establish mission-driven application, interview, hiring, and onboarding procedures aimed at identifying employees whose values and beliefs align with the school. • Establish mission-driven application, interview, and acceptance policies aimed at identifying students and families whose values and beliefs align with the school. • Use the school’s mission, vision, and values as the filter through which all decisions must pass. Intentionally look for missional alignment in all programs of the school. • Cultivate strong relationships among and between stakeholder groups which reinforce the values and beliefs of the school • Intentionally cultivate student buy-in to the culture of the school. • Create a crisis response plan which reflects the values and beliefs of the school in the event of a scandal. The use of these specific actions derived from the 10 axioms with great intention and attention will enable the private Christian school to establish a strong school culture and maintain it. Conclusions The longer a private Christian school exercises cultural integrity as outlined in the 10 axioms, the more engrained