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Culture Blueprint

Every Moment Matters

In Forest Hills School District, we believe that every individual and every experience is important. The district's efforts to ensure success for all students are rooted in the belief that Every Moment Matters. Each of us has the ability to positively impact those around us and it is important to be mindful of those moments, big and small. Every interaction, every conversation, every smile or word of encouragement can make a difference in someone else's life.

The FHSD Culture Blueprint is the culmination of the efforts of approximately three dozen staff members, representing all school buildings, departments and job types. This group of teachers, support staff, administrators, custodial staff and more came together over the course of several weeks in the spring of 2023 to create the blueprint and the document was shared with all staff members at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

"Culture is not built by what you proclaim. It is built by what you practice, promote and permit."

What is Culture?

Our culture is the heart of our learning community. It makes Forest Hills School District a special place to work, and it empowers us to act with passion and energy. 

Culture is not a document that hangs on the wall. Culture is what we value, how we live it and why we do it. It is the foundation on which Forest Hills School District is built. Written statements help clarify the culture, but documents do not build culture—our actions do.

Building and sustaining our culture requires intentional effort from everyone in the organization. This Culture Blueprint is part of that effort. The values and behaviors described in this document should guide our everyday actions, always remembering that Every Moment Matters.

"Inside your 20 square feet, you have control. Outside you have an impact."

20 Square Feet

20 Square Feet is a metaphor that expresses the reality that everyone in Forest Hills School District has a sphere of ownership. Each of us is responsible for developing our part of the culture and our part of the learning journey. The way we behave personally—the way each of us manages our 20 Square Feet—is what determines our culture. 

WE are all builders of our culture. There's no such thing as a culturally neutral attitude or action. What you do in your 20 Square Feet makes a difference.

The way each of us manages our 20 Square Feet determines our culture. 

Chart that details the text in the accompanying paragraph.

Values, Behaviors and Outcomes

Each value in the Culture Blueprint drives specific behaviors that produce key outcomes. Our goal is not simply to publish and promote a list of principles. Our goal is to create a learning environment where everyone consistently engages in the behaviors that produce great experiences and great outcomes.

The Culture Blueprint is a framework for our professional family. It clarifies the key behaviors and desired outcomes we want from each of our core values. The behaviors outlined in the blueprint are essential to navigating the learning journey and responding to the ever-changing educational environment.

Our goal is to create a culture where everyone consistently engages in behaviors that help us prepare students to be ready for what's next.

Connections: Stronger Together

  • Respect Each Voice
    • Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Create a safe and inclusive learning environment where everyone feels heard, seen and valued. Actively listen to others, seek to understand their perspectives and refrain from judgment. Recognize the inherent worth and dignity of every individual and work to create a culture that values and celebrates differences, promotes mutual understanding and fosters respect and empathy.
  • Serve and Support Others
    • Be a listening ear, providing guidance and feedback, and offering help whenever possible. Show empathy, understanding and compassion towards colleagues and be there for them in times of hardship or adversity. Put the needs and interests of students before your own for the greater good of those we serve in Forest Hills School District.
  • Be Honest and Authentic
    • Be transparent and sincere in what you say; be truthful in your actions and intentions. Be open to sharing your personal and professional experiences with colleagues. Admit when you need help and be a sounding board for others when they need it as well. When we are real, we allow others to do the same.

Why We Do It: To Foster Positive Relationships

Ownership: I Get To

  • Do the Work
    • Take responsibility for your actions and be accountable for your results. Choose to do your best work each and every day. Be disciplined, focused and committed to your goals. Put in the time and effort  required to achieve success, not shying away from hard work or other challenges. Be adaptable and flexible—willing to adjust your approach when things don't go as planned.
  • Lead by Example
    • Set a positive example through your actions, behaviors, words and attitudes; inspire others to follow suit. Choose to do the right thing. Admit mistakes, and demonstrate integrity and honesty. Treat others with respect. By setting a positive example and demonstrating the behaviors and attitudes you want others to adopt, you can motivate others to follow your lead and create positive change in the district.
  • Encourage and Empower
    • Provide those around you with support and encouragement to help them be their best selves. Inspire and motivate students to achieve goals, build confidence and develop skills. Foster a sense of optimism and possibility, and help others to see the potential in themselves. Encouraging and empowering others can help build stronger relationships and create a culture of positivity and growth.

Why We Do It: To Accept Responsibility with Passion and Purpose

Growth: Transform Tomorrow

  • Seek and Value Feedback
    • Be open to constructive criticism and actively explore opportunities for growth. Seek different perspectives for input, like peers, mentors, administrators and students. Express gratitude and appreciation to those who take the time to provide feedback. Listen to others to gain a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, identify areas for improvement and develop new skills and perspectives.
  • Reflect and Take Action
    • Take time to evaluate past experiences, failures, and successes. Identify areas where you can improve and make meaningful, positive change. Set goals and take concrete steps to achieve them, whether that be changing behaviors, seeking out new opportunities or developing new skills. Taking action requires commitment and perseverance.
  • Step Outside Comfort Zone
    • Lean into challenges. Take risks in order to grow, learn and live up to your potential. Try a new activity, take on a new project or responsibility, speak up in a group or confront a fear. Personal growth and development requires you to challenge yourself, broaden your perspective and work to become a better person. It does not matter if you’ve been in education for one year, ten years or thirty years—learning is a continuous journey. 

Why We Do It: To Create a Better Today

"E+R=O, Event+Response=Outcome"

E + R = O

This simple and powerful framework provides a way to be intentional about how we respond to various situations in our lives. An event plus our response will deliver an outcome. This applies to all facets of life, professional and personal. The key is to focus on how you choose to respond and how that response can deliver a positive or desirable outcome.

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