This text provides a review of recent research literature of the instructional climate in a school, and the values-laden organizational culture that sustains the deeply felt attitudes toward children, curriculum, faculty, administration, parents, teachers, and board members. Particular attention is given to the challenges facing programs for gifted and talented youth in rural low budget schools, and the positive impact that enlightened leadership can bring to those students, for whom there is no legal mandate to provide needed programs.
It is incumbent upon any school to set a student-centered tone of the school’s climate (the way people behave) and culture (what people believe and value) prior to planning a systematic program of service delivery for gifted/talented students. A clear understanding of climate and culture is critical in schools where there may be a tendency toward a persistent clinging to traditional values and beliefs. In many settings, such traditional values pose obstacles to the effective application of well known and documented practices which benefit and augment educational achievement.
A recent review by Kirkus Discoveries said the following about the book…
…The focus here is on educational theory, where the words “culture” and “climate” have more to do with defining the personality of an institution or organization than they do with sunny skies or rites of passage. The idea is that large institutions, like school systems, are kind of like planets—their atmospheres evolve over time, often despite the intentions of those running things, hence the term “climate.” Trying to reform a school system without understanding its atmosphere is like trying to colonize a planet before one knows whether or not the environment can sustain human life. Organizational culture has been in the public consciousness for a long time, and Knapp and Harrigan address the customs that develop organically in the course of an institution’s life. The authors take four categories—culture, climate, gifted and rural—and examine the articles and papers in which these categories “interact,” in terms of the culture and climate of rural schools and the ways they support or don’t support gifted students. This is not a layman’s overview, though it might be an interesting read for parents with gifted children languishing in rural schools. Instructions on developing a base from which educational research can move forward.