Creating a Positive CERCA Culture

When we think about the culture of a school or classroom, we might look to the physical environment, the expectations or the impressions of the students.  When we talk about CERCA culture in our district, schools, and classrooms what might that look like? Finally, why is it important to create and sustain a CERCA Culture?

A positive CERCA culture is one in which teachers, students, and families feel valued, cared for and respected in respect to the implementation of ThinkCERCA. The implementation of CERCA requires input, feedback, and buy-in from all stakeholders. A positive CERCA culture will support a successful implementation and thus student growth.

As administrators, it is essential that you support and encourage this CERCA culture to be created and maintained to maximize the increased literacy skills of all students.  

There are lots of fun, engaging, and effective ways to accomplish this. Your teachers may begin by using some of the examples provided and they will likely develop their own activities that work best in their classrooms.

We recommend viewing the ideas below as well as brainstorming your own ideas for creating a positive ThinkCERCA Culture. Then identify the ideas and activities that will help to solidify a CERCA Culture, and finally create a plan to integrate the CERCA Culture in a sustainable way.  This is a great activity to do at each level - district, school, and classroom. Our CERCA Culture Brainstorm and Planning document is a place to document ideas and plan for creating a positive culture in a sustainable way.

Ideas for Creating a Positive ThinkCERCA Culture

  1. Visual Reminders & Expectations: Teachers can use visual cues on anchor charts, whiteboards, smartboards, bookmarks, or desk cards to reinforce the CERCA framework.

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  2. Celebrate: Celebrating teachers and students for their accomplishments can be a great way to build a positive school culture around ThinkCERCA. Examples of celebrations can include certificates for growth, a shout-out on the intercom, email, or posting on social media.

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  3. Professional Learning: We believe that the best professional learning is ongoing throughout the school year. Incorporating ThinkCERCA professional learning into your typical cadence is a fantastic way to ensure that ThinkCERCA is not an additional piece, but is part of your school’s culture and instructional practice. Below are some ways to incorporate ThinkCERCA into your professional learning.

  4. Lunch & Learns On a weekly or monthly basis teachers gather to have lunch together and share their ThinkCERCA experiences. Teachers can share glows & grows, student writing, or present on a CERCA strategy.

  5. ThinkCERCA Ondemand Webinars: ThinkCERCA provides free ondemand webinars for teachers and administrators. Topics include student voice, remote learning, student writing growth, and expert panel discussions. Webinars can be viewed as part of professional learning with a discussion and debrief.

  6. ThinkCERCA Certification: ThinkCERCA offers virtual Teacher Training Courses. Be sure to add your certification badges to your email upon completion of the courses!

  7. Learning Walks: Learning Walks are a great way to allow teachers to share strategies and best practices with one another. Learning Walks involve teachers visiting one another’s classroom (in-person or virtually). View our Learning Walk Toolkit for additional information.

  8. Engaging Families and Caregivers: Now more than ever, it is important to communicate and collaborate with your students’ families and caregivers. It is important to support students in seeing the connection between school and their home environment. Ideas for engaging families include hosting a brief webinar for families on ThinkCERCA or sending a ThinkCERCA informative newsletter. View our resource on Engaging Families with CERCA for more ideas.

Surveys: Surveys are a great way to gather feedback and information from your teachers and students. The survey responses can inform the decisions your team makes on next steps for CERCA implementation.

ThinkCERCA Teacher Reflection Survey

ThinkCERCA Student Reflection Survey