Above and Below the Surface Elements of a School Community: Understand & Evaluate Your School’s Community

Group of five smiling students (three girls prominent in the center) with arms linked around their shoulders.

There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.

– Margaret J. Wheatley


Take some time to walk around your school campus with the goal of observing and evaluating each element of your school’s community as well as the overall sense of community. Actively reference the Above and Below the Surface: Elements of a School Community PDF (digitally or printed) as you take notes (we’ve provided a template to save you time).

  • Date/Time
  • Circumstances of Observations (who, what, when, where, why?)
  • Climate Observed
  • Culture Observed
  • Identity Observed
  • Community Observed
  • Is the Sense of Community Strong & Positive?

Take some time to then further reflect individually on your observations and evaluations.

  • Do your observations meet your aspirations for your school’s community?
  • Which elements appear to already be “strong & positive”?
  • Which elements does your school community need to grow and/or improve?
  • What can you do to enhance your school’s sense of community?
  • Who else can you involve to help you enhance your school’s sense of community?


Have your leadership team complete this activity and everyone share and collaborate on the results.

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