My schools vision (mission) statement:
-We believe school should prepare students for life as productive and responsive citizens
-We believe in success for all students
-Everyone is expected to do his/her best in an atmosphere where they feel safe and are known and appreciated as unique individuals
-We are all lifelong learners
-Our goal is for learning to be meaningful and challenging
-Expectations for quality work and how it will be judged are clear to all
-We are a team
While not explicitly stated, being welcoming for all students is highly implied within our schools vision statement. More heavily in the third point where "students feel safe and are known and appreciated as unique individuals." This is an important part of welcoming. Everyone should feel safe to be their own person. I teach social studies. It is wonderful when I get a myriad of students from different backgrounds and cultures, because they interpret material based on their own life experience. It leads to some good discussions.
I teach in an anomaly of a school district. We have only 6 schools, 3 elementary, one middle, one high, and one virtual extension school. The students are of higher income families, and tend to know each other from social situations, such as sports. If I were to try and find a group that is not feeling extremely welcomed, it would have to be the group that I tend to (affectionately) call "the lump." We all have these students. They come to class; and do nothing. They don't ask to go to the bathroom. They don't come late. They don't disrupt class. They do nothing. Since they don't disrupt class, they tend to get ignored. They don't have helicopter parents that force attention from the teacher. They aren't being sent to the office. They just exist.
Welcoming to school is not only greeting a person as they enter the room. It is making them comfortable in their own skin and also fostering their creativity and interests. Our school (I don't think I'm alone here) needs to do a better job of welcoming these kids. I really feel that I can reach them. I want to commit to the following things in the hopes that it will help them feel and act more welcomed into my room.
1. Greet them by name at the beginning of class each day.
2. Call home with BOTH positive information about their student and areas for improvement.
3. Spend one on one time with them in class to engage student in work.
4. Celebrate the Positive.
5. Sponsor a Club and invite targeted students to join.