Creating a Positive Culture

Posted on Categories Professional Development

At a Glance

The Greene County Career and Technology Center administrator has created an upbeat, results-driven culture of learning and professional behavior. 


Greene County Career and Technology Center (GCCTC) is a comprehensive career and technical school serving students from five school districts in Greene County. For the last six years, the GCCTC administrator has implemented teacher support systems and provided frequent opportunities for professional development in an effort to increase teacher expectations and outcomes as well as improve student achievement. In order to achieve these goals, the administrator impressed upon teachers that professional development was aligned to professional responsibilities, improvements in instruction, and evaluation.

The administrator encouraged teacher participation and buy-in by attending professional development workshops with teachers, helping them implement assignments in their classrooms, and supporting them with substitute teachers for professional development time. Teachers were also given the expectations that what they learn in professional development should be implemented in the classroom. The professional development activities included SREB Seven Essential Teaching Skills I and II (with a focus on planning and preparation of curriculum), enhanced CTE assignments, MAX Teaching Strategies and MAX

coaching and guidance for Student Learning Objectives (SLOs). 

By providing administrative support to those needing one-on-one assistance and by allowing the use of substitute teachers for professional development and teacher-to-teacher exchanges, the director has raised expectations and outcomes for the instructional staff. Teachers are presented with expectations and held accountable for producing written curriculum, instructional delivery, and student achievement results that are challenging, yet attainable.

Origin / Implementation

When she starting at GCCTC in 2011, the school’s new administrative director determined that in order to create long-term, meaningful change, culture changes need to be supported from both the top down and from the bottom up. The administrator acknowledged that instructional personnel had to work as a team in order for any meaningful improvements to occur. By providing clear expectations, regular professional development opportunities, and in-class supports, the administrator demonstrated a willingness to work with, and work for, the teachers. This resulted in the start of a culture shift in GCCTC.

Results / Impact

The impact from this culture shift is most notable in terms of teacher morale. Despite low funding (the school supports one instructional leader who serves as principal and director), morale of the teaching and administrative staff is positive and very high. Findings from a 2013 Perkins on-site technical assistance visit by Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) personnel support this claim. The visit summary noted the high teacher performance expectations and student achievement outcomes, improved Perkins assurance documentation, and improved PDE chapter 339 mandates. 

Student achievement outcomes are positive and increasing. Regarding NOCTI improvements, students achieving at the Basic level have steadily decreased, while students achieving at the Proficient and Advanced levels have steadily increased.


Greene County Career and Technology Center
Karen Pflugh, Administrative Director