What are the key commitments that would have to be made and honored if your school were to function as envisioned in the mission statement?
Mission statements in education are easy to create but often much harder to live. Harder yet is to get all members of a team to live the mission. In our mission to focus on “every student, every lesson, every day” there would be several key functions that would need to be present if we were truly going to live our mission.
The first would be to focus on “every student” which means more than just academics. As a staff we would need to be aware of the social and emotional needs of our students and ensure that our lessons and support structures are all encompassing. It would mean honoring that students learn in different ways, have different strengths and weaknesses and should have some voice in their learning. It means providing educational opportunities that will develop skills for their future such as perseverance, resilience, creativity and risk taking to name a few. It means preparing them for the next stage in their education but also for life.
The second would be to focus on “every lesson” which starts by establishing high expectations for all students and the belief that all students can learn at high levels. It includes researching and implementing the most effective practices within our classrooms and constantly monitoring student success. It would mean that all teachers have an understanding of their impact on learning. Staff would have to embrace collaborative planning and have a sense of collective responsibility for all students within the building. Leaders would have to provide time and opportunity for professional development and staff would have to be committed to growth through continuous improvement.
Lastly would be the understanding that all of this must be done “every day.” There needs to be a sense of urgency that every moment matters. There must also be a sense of hope that this mission can be accomplished. Our students deserve the intentional focus on our mission. I would also include family engagement into this last area because for any school mission to be truly effective, families must be part of the equation to make it successful.
Once a mission statement is developed and the entire learning community understands the components and goals of the mission, it is up to leadership to ensure it is the driving force for the work. Leadership must monitor the implementation of the mission and ensure that a consistent message is given. Then, and only then, will our school live its mission.