Put Your Mask on First!

Put Your Mask on First!

Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-7090-9.ch001
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This chapter explains how workplace well-being supports the well-being of Black students. Well-being is defined as the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous. To support is to keep from fainting, yielding, or losing courage. The chapter explores how school leaders–principals–can develop a culture that promotes mental and emotional health in the adults, so that these adults can then assist Black students with being happy and healthy, as well as building and sustaining their courage and perseverance. The assertion is that adults are responsible for student well-being. The chapter discusses the leadership characteristics needed to develop this type of organizational culture. The structures and systems necessary for schools to facilitate this culture of health and wellness will also be identified. Lastly, this chapter will examine the requisite knowledge and skills for principals to create a healthy organizational culture in their school, as they support the well-being of Black students.
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The well-being of Black students is directly connected to that of the adults who are responsible for them. If the adults are not well, then the students are not well. As leaders, principals have an impact on the climate and culture of the school, which has a direct impact on teaching and learning. It is the mandate of school leaders to ensure that staff wellness is a priority, so that staff can ensure the wellness of students (MacNeil et al., 2009; Teasley, 2017). This wellness is maximized when the culture of the organization is healthy.

Organizational trust is one key factor in determining organizational culture, and a healthy culture breeds success (Bell, 2021; Donohoo et al., 2018). In this chapter success is indicated by mentally and emotionally healthy adults creating an environment that allows emotionally healthy students to thrive in the school setting (Dernowska, 2017). School administrators are expected to create a strong school culture and establish positive relationships with all stakeholders–staff, students, parents, and community. Principals must be able to motivate and mobilize staff to develop the organizational trust needed for a healthy culture (Bell, 2021; Kalkan et al., 2020).

The objectives of this chapter include the following:

  • Substantiate the assertion that staff well-being yields student well-being,

  • Establish that staff well-being is an outcome of a healthy organizational culture,

  • Explore leadership theory that encourages the development of a healthy organizational culture,

  • Identify knowledge and skills needed to develop a healthy organizational culture,

  • Discuss systems and structures necessary for the development of a healthy organizational culture,

  • Describe and delineate evidence of a healthy organizational culture, and

  • Propose strategies for developing a healthy organizational culture.

This article is organized in the following structure. Firstly, background and essential understandings of the topic are provided. These are followed by the central ideas, solutions and recommendations. Also included are possible ideas for future research and the conclusion. Lastly are discussion questions, a complete reference list, glossary of terms and suggestions for additional reading.



Educators, particularly for the last two years, with a global pandemic and increased incidences of racial injustice in the United States, have been trying to determine how best to support Black students in PreK-12 schools, with a specific focus on students situated in poverty. The PreK-12 student population in the United States is racially diverse, with more than half of the student population composed of students of color. Yet, these students continue to experience marginalization within the education system (Daftary & Surgue, 2020). These researchers identified the following as contributing to poorer academic outcomes for students of color: institutionalized racism, school and residential segregation, underfunded schools situated in poverty, exclusionary discipline policies and practices, and implicit bias. Such practices are indicative of oppression–structures and daily practices, norms, assumptions, and habits that disadvantage a social group, so they cannot develop their capacities and express their needs, thoughts, and feelings. Some of the strategies to combat oppression are to increase cultural humility, challenge oppression and injustice when evident, build relationships with students and families, and provide support and accountability within the school community (Daftary & Surgue, 2020).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Wellness: Operating in happiness, health and prosperity

Emotional Health: Feeling good about yourself, your gifts and talents, and your relationships with others.

Workplace: In this instance the school building; a place where all adults are responsible for the well-being and safety of the children who attend

Perseverance: The ability to complete a task in the face of obstacles; not giving up

School Leadership: The person responsible for establishing the vision for a school and for the health, well-being and academic success of staff and students. This person is also responsible for cultivating and sustaining relationships with the surrounding community.

Structures: The elements that build and organization

Systems: An organized set of doctrines, ideas, principles or established procedures usually intended to explain the arrangement or working of an organization.

School Organizational Culture: Culture is the way that a school staff and students engage with their work and one another determined by a set of shared values and behavioral norms.

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