Alexandria, VA (10/13/2014)—ASCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, is dedicating Connected Educator Month (CEM) resources and discussions to school culture this week. A healthy school culture is essential to education and sets the tone for the learning environment. A key step to providing a welcoming, supportive environment for students is to offer professional development for educators that emphasizes school culture.

ASCD is leading the Educator Professional Development and Learning theme for CEM and will employ a specific subtheme each week to enhance the overall theme and provide targeted resources and professional development discussions. Read this press release to find resources related to the previous subtheme, educator observations.

“A healthy school culture is the foundation for learning,” said ASCD Professional Learning Services Faculty member Stef Hite. “You may have the world’s greatest instruction happening in your classrooms, but students won’t feel like they can take risks and grow if they’re not provided with a safe and supportive environment. A school without a strong culture at its base is analogous to a sturdy house built atop a bed of sand: one strong wave will knock it right over.

Throughout October, ASCD will offer free resources on the CEM theme and subthemes and supplement them with promotional codes on a select list of ASCD books, found on this ASCD EDge® page. By using the promo code CEM14 at checkout, educators will receive a 20 percent discount on each of the listed books, including this week’s featured title:

How to Create a Culture of Achievement in Your School and Classroom by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Ian Pumpian. In this book, the best-selling authors explain why they believe school improvement efforts can only be effective if they address school culture; they also identify five pillars that are critical to building a culture of achievement. Educators can also join this CEM Book Club to access detailed study guides, read along with peers, and ask questions of authors Fisher and Frey.

In this morning’s Inservice post, Student Success Starts with a FIT Culture, Hite defines and describes the five critical student achievement pillars identified in How to Create a Culture of Achievement in Your School and Classroom. A member of Fisher and Frey’s FIT Teaching™ cadre with ASCD Professional Learning Services, Hite works with schools and districts to implement customized professional learning plans according to the framework. In the blog post, she explains that “within the FIT Teaching model, school and classroom culture is a critical prerequisite to implementing instruction that has impact.” To learn more about this model, visit

Inservice will continue to feature content all week that defines and explains several elements of a thriving school culture:

This afternoon, ASCD Faculty member Tony Frontier’s post, Five Keys to Building a Culture of Active Learning, will explain the factors—motivation, engagement, self-efficacy, ownership, and independence—that schools need to address to build a culture of active learning.

On Wednesday morning, Education Week blogger and ASCD author Peter DeWitt will address equity and engagement, two of the four critical elements of school climate from his recent ASCD Arias publication, School Climate Change: How do I build a positive environment for learning? He will describe five ways school leaders can address these factors, such as holding authentic conversations and encouraging student voices.

On Wednesday afternoon, Sean Slade—DeWitt’s School Climate Change coauthor and Director of Whole Child Programs at ASCD—will address their two remaining critical elements to school climate: empowerment and environment.

In addition to each week’s blog content, educators can enjoy free access all month to Professional Learning: Reimagined, the May 2014 edition of ASCD’s flagship publication, Educational Leadership. The articles addressing this week’s subtheme include:

“Flipping the Flip” by Patricia Gioffre Scott. In this article, Scott describes how flipped professional development gives teachers control over how they learn—and makes face-to-face sessions more meaningful.

Special Topic / “When Change Has Legs” by David N. Perkins and James D. Reese. In this article, the authors discuss the four key factors that help determine whether change efforts will be sustained over time: frameworks, leaders, community, and institutionalization.

Find out how signature capacity-building models from ASCD Professional Learning Services can transform your school or district at To read or subscribe to Educational Leadership, visit Find blog content on more education topics at You can also learn about ASCD’s other programs, products, services, and memberships at

Contact Information
Ross Romano, publicist, 1-703-575-5607 or
Katie Test, communications manager, 1-703-575-5608 or

About the Author:

Abi Mandelbaum

Abi Mandelbaum is CEO of YouVisit.