New and old south elementary schools: Perceptions of the enculturation process

Academic Article


  • School reform efforts are rampant with prescribed leadership styles, governance, pedagogies, and timelines. No Child Left Behind legislation brings new levels of accountability. Educators face difficult decisions regarding the structure of their schools. The challenge to change is often adapted before a true understanding and appreciation of what excellence in education means to a community. In this study, school cultures provided the impetus for both the Old and New South Elementary Schools to achieve academic excellence in vastly different ideologies. The Old South Elementary School, steeped in traditions and beliefs, was a source of community pride. As a school principal in the Old South School System, Wilson felt it was necessary for him to adhere to a predefined role that school culture established. He and others from the Old South Elementary School relied on a worn but still welcomed system of respect, hard work, and results. The New South Elementary School had active and aggressive parent cultures, which held teachers highly accountable for their performances. These white-collar parents had high expectations for their children and teachers. These parent cultures were organized, involved, and vocal. New South Elementary School relied on vast resources, an actively engaged parent network, and technology to achieve their academic results. In this study, two very different schools attain academic excellence by cultivating their individuality. One is urban the other rural, one is blue-collar the other white collar, one is steeped in tradition while the other struggles to create an identity, one has aging facilities in stark contrast to the state-of-the-art buildings enjoyed by the other, and one has meager resources as the other draws from a substantial foundation. Both are rooted in a community spirit and enjoy broad public support. Excellence is a product of an enculturation process, which defines leadership, clarifies values, and provides empowerment.
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  • Peters G
  • Volume

  • 3
  • Issue

  • 2