The Importance of a Clear Mission and Vision
A few weeks back, I was reading a CNN article on my computer titled “The Rise and Fall of Sarah Palin,” and while I did not give the article too much thought, I did catch one phrase that made me stop and think:
“It wasn’t clear what Palin stood for.”
That hits it on the head, doesn’t it? If we do not know where we are going, how do we know if we get there?
Therein lies the importance of having a clear mission and vision for a school. Why do we have a school? What is our purpose? What are we supposed to be doing? What collective commitments have we made? Is it clear what we stand for? For us to be a PLC with a culture that is clearly about student learning first, last, and always, we must be clear about our purpose.
Yearly, our school district looks at its mission, vision, values, and goals. Without exception, we have discussions surrounding our purpose. We examine our mission. Those conversations help us to fine-tune our focus and provide all the clarity we need to ensure priorities are still in line with student learning. If we fail to do this, we have no road map for what we want to do or where we wish to go.
As we review our vision, we have an opportunity to use it to give us direction with our mission. If we are here to ensure that all students learn at high levels, how do we move forward? What is the focus of any professional in the building to meet the mission of our school? Inevitably, these reviews create further conversations about best practice in instruction and assessment. They help us to continue to better ourselves so that we provide the best to our students on a daily basis. The collective commitment that we have made to ourselves, to each other, and to students and families is that we will do whatever it takes to ensure that the mission of Fort Leavenworth Schools, "To achieve the highest level of learning for all through the tenacious pursuit of excellence," is not just a phrase or a line; it is something that we live every day.