Develop Your Brand, Develop Your Culture


Harborside Center East and West

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Academic Achievement & School Leadership


This proposal presentation relates to Strand II: Social and Emotional Skills. Often times, low socioeconomic students who attend Title I schools lack a sense of identity, which causes them to accept of the wrong kind of identity. The Chickasaw City School System (CCSS) in Mobile County was formed in 2012. Before the system’s creation, the community’s students attended sixty-two different schools across Mobile County. Due to the large array of schools these 650 students attended, it was imperative to establish a school climate that fostered a sense of community in both the school and the community. Since the school system’s inception, the student population has grown to 940 students with close to 100 students coming from outside of the CCSS attendance zone. Through the development of a school brand, school values, and high expectations, the students in the CCSS are becoming leaders in the community and role models to the younger students in both the school and community. The U.S. Department of Education Office of Safe and Healthy Students Safe and Supportive Schools Model (http://safesupportiveschools.ed.gov) emphasizes the core areas of student/staff/community engagement, safety, physical environment, and emotional environment. It is our belief that our students have shown tremendous academic and social growth in a large part due to the Chieftain culture created in our school system. Pieces of evidence to support the climate shift include the Chickasaw City Council’s decision to change the name of the street on which our school is located from 12th Avenue to Chieftain Way. Our school’s rallying cry “Doing it the Chieftain Way” is commonly heard in the hallways and the neighborhood. Students in grades 9-12 wear ties Monday though Thursday and take great pride in it. Students come to an adult with problems instead of taking it upon themselves to deal with it. Student attendance has also risen from 92% to 97%.

Brief Program Description

Come learn how a school can develop its brand to help create an environment of high academic and social expectations. In addition, participants will learn how a brand will positively affect the social and emotional skills of students from any socioeconomic background.


The presenter will provide participants with both school-tested strategies and ideas to take back to their school and school system. Through the use of direct delivery, question and answer session, and hands-on activities, participants will return to their school with strategies and ideas that will prepare them for implementation of this concept. The hands-on activities will include the development of a graphic organizer to stimulate the participants’ thoughts on what the symbols at their school represent. The items to be developed include using a mascot for school representation, creating a philosophical foundation upon which the school stands, determining the basis for all of the decisions made on campus, establishing values, finding a communal focus for students and parents, establishing the inclusion of a community history, and gathering input from area businesses that deals with their observation of student behavior outside of school.


The culture of the school reflects the local culture in many ways (Rossman, Corbett, & Firestone, 1988; Welch, 1989). When schools seek to improve, a focus on the values, beliefs, and norms of both the school and the environment outside the school is necessary (Sarason, 1982; Deal and Peterson, 1990). The Chickasaw City School System has been developing its brand and improving the school’s culture since May 2013. Through the process of developing a school brand, the following items have been documented and will continue to be documented through various types of qualitative and quantitative data. Student and parent satisfaction has increased, and daily attendance has increased. Days lost to instruction due to suspension have decreased. Student enrollment has increased. Engaged instructional time has increased, and student participation in clubs and activities has increased. The number of students on the A and A/B Honor Rolls have increased each quarter. References Deal, T. & Peterson, K. (1990). The principal's role in shaping school culture. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Rossman, G., Corbett, D. & Firestone, W. (1988). Change and effectiveness in schools: A cultural perspective. Philadelphia, PA: Research for Better Schools. Sarason, S.B. (1982). Culture of the school and the problem of change, 2nd edition. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Welch, M. (1989). A cultural perspective and the second wave of educational reform. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 22(9), pp. 537.


Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Brent Ward is currently the K-12 Principal in the Chickasaw City School System located in Chickasaw, Alabama. Ward has been involved with the creation of a new school system from the ground up. Ward has seven years of administrative experience and fifteen years of experience in Title I schools.

Keyword Descriptors

Brand, Culture, Change, Climate, Expectations, Values, Student Achievement, Community Engagement, Buy-In

Presentation Year


Start Date

3-3-2015 4:00 PM

End Date

3-3-2015 5:30 PM

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Mar 3rd, 4:00 PM Mar 3rd, 5:30 PM

Develop Your Brand, Develop Your Culture

Harborside Center East and West

Come learn how a school can develop its brand to help create an environment of high academic and social expectations. In addition, participants will learn how a brand will positively affect the social and emotional skills of students from any socioeconomic background.