Have you ever asked a student, “Why are you here?” when they seem to be floundering in school? We want them to find a reason for attending school that is their own, something that will drive them forward when they are worn out or have lost their will to get things done.
And yet, few educators have defined their own purpose for showing up each day. We all know vaguely why we entered into education (the money, obviously - just kidding), we may even have a specific focus to our own personal mission.
But why are you at the school you are working with now? Are you there because the commute is reasonable? Is the salary competitive? Is it the only place you seemed to be able to get hired? How does the mission of your school or district align with your own personal vision and goals?
One thing that is clear about the schools in our educational reformation leaders’ group is that each school has a clear, unique purpose. Their purpose can be measured, and they hit their targets consistently
How many of our schools have mission statements that are living, breathing, impactful definitions of why we do the things we do?
How many of us know who our target demographics are?
How many of us have clearly defined where we are going as a district and have a plan to get there?
Without a clearly defined goal or purpose to work toward, you are guaranteed not to go much of anywhere, and everyone involved will go “nowhere” together.
For many districts, it often seems the only goal is “graduation”.
But there has to be more than that.
Making graduation from high school or the act of learning our only goals lacks milestones, measurable steps toward achievement, and the ability to tell whether we’re making much progress.
There must be more.
And we see that with these leaders in education. In this post, we’ll share their missions statements, visions, and other pertinent information. In the following post, we’ll talk more about how to create and live by our own vision and mission statements.
Here are their mission statements. Please note that whenever possible, we’ve shared the original thoughts of the school or organization, most of which are from other areas around the world, so spelling, grammar, and verbiage may be different from the English we use in the U.S..
Whenever possible, we’ve attempted to allow the words of the individual schools to carry their own message rather than adding our interpretation or much in the way of explanation. We hope these statements are as meaningful for you and your teaching as they have been for us.
The Ron Clark Academy - Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
RCA’s mission is well written, and we see it play out in everything they do. Here’s their mission statement: “To deliver the highest quality educational experience where global citizens are born through engaging teaching methods, academic excellence, relationship building, and a passionate climate and culture.”
They’ve also made a vision statement: “To be the best school in the world by demonstrating transformative methods and techniques that are embraced and replicated everywhere.”
They also have a list of eleven founding values, which you can find here
Fuji Youchien - Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan
Here is a translation of what Fuji Youchien (the circle school) declares their mission and vision to be. It’s a Montessori school, so they adhere strongly to the Montessori values, vision, and mission of all Montessori schools.
“Our Policy: Kids first. Help me do it myself.”
They further define their mission with these statements.
“We consider early childhood to be ‘the basis for humans and a happy life, an irreplaceable time to experience the first surprises and discoveries and to be moved.’
“As a place for children to spend their precious childhood, we kindergartens are in good condition, safe and at a distance where we can always reach out. And watch over each child so that they can do what they want best. I believe that this is what gives children confidence and a sense of accomplishment, and leads to individual independence.
“In addition, I hope that you will be surrounded by the warmth of nature, such as trees, flowers, grass, soil, animals, and crops, to store and absorb the power to live. On top of that, I would like to be an open kindergarten as a communication “open space” for each family and local people.”
If you want to read more about their policies and beliefs, you can find them here on their website. It may be best viewed in Google, and remember to select the “English” translation since the website is originally written in Japanese.
Wooranna Park Primary - Melbourne, Australia
Wooranna Park Primary shares their vision and mission statements, which are these:
Mission: To provide students with a learning environment that recognises children learn best when engaged with real world, authentic tasks, involving problem solving and collaboration with peers on interdisciplinary, research based project work, where the teacher's role includes that of coach and facilitator and where students are empowered to take responsibility for their learning.
Vision: If our students are to maximize their learning, then Wooranna Park Primary School must be a place of optimism, excitement and challenge, where students and teachers see each day as a journey, full of purpose and where intellectual engagement and connectedness to the outside world are priorities.
Lesher Middle School - Fort Collins, Colorado, U.S.A.
Our mission is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, balanced and caring students who will help to create a better world through intercultural understanding and respect. Toward that end, we will:
- Create a physically and emotionally safe learning environment
- Model behaviors and attitudes that we want our students to possess, including: open-mindedness, collaboration, principled action, and communication
- Create an energizing and vigorous curriculum with frequent formative assessment that supports learners at all levels of mastery
- Provide opportunities for students to engage their natural curiosities in meaningful learning and reflection
- Give our students opportunities to think deeply, grow, take risks, and correct mistakes
- Hold students accountable for their best efforts
- Provide opportunities to solve problems in “real-world” applications
- Be passionate, enthusiastic, creative, and caring learning leaders
- Create opportunities for students to learn about and engage in their larger world, within and across culture
Lesher Middle School strives to become a world class International Baccalaureate school; one in which all students leave our care as confident, inquisitive, creative, and self-motivated learners who use critical thinking skills and an expanded understanding of their world to become globally competitive and productive members of society. Engaged in the local community, yet culturally connected to the world, Lesher Middle School students are reflective, and are able to assess and appreciate divergent points of view.
Manurewa Intermediate - Auckland, New Zealand
Manurewa Intermediate does not provide a mission statement per se, but they do define who they strive to be as a group of learners, and what they want to accomplish:
“Adventurous risk takers; persistent focussed achievement”
We also mention them because they have a section for professional development, and in this area, they’ve shared their philosophy, what they share, and why:
“Our philosophy: Practical professional development that you can use the very next day.
What we do: We believe that professional development should be differentiated to suit the learner, so we respond to the needs that your group has and create a programme that will best suit the purpose.
Why we do it this way: Because that’s how professional development for teachers should be! (Not copy-pasted for every group that walks through the doors!)”
This definition of professional development lends itself to their overall approach to education, which is individualization and differentiation.
Hellerup School - Copenhagen, Denmark
Our mission is to provide the highest quality education in a student-centered environment by empowering individuals to fulfill their human potential to become purposeful life-long learners and responsible global citizens.
Our vision is to foster a nurturing and respectful environment where all individuals become reflective and active members of the society, contributing to common good and world peace through/based on universal values.
Hellerup also has a detailed list of values and goals mentioned here.
Casa Sula - San Mateo, Costa Rica
Casa Sula lists its driving values in these statements:
“Respecting Life Processes: Allowing children to realize their full potential through relearning and reconnecting their natural instincts.
Love: Embracing individuality and the differences between each child. Each child learns to accept the needs of others with empathy.
Trust in Life: Respecting the natural process of each child in happy and empathetic conditions.
Joyful Independence: Allowing children to identify their needs and make their own decisions.
Celebrating Abundance: Giving every child access to diversity in a healthy, safe environment that is rich in opportunity.
Family Integration: Education begins with the family. We work with families to create a harmonious coexistence and a loving quality of life.”
Green School - Bali, Indonesia
“Green School's mission is to deliver a generation of global citizens who are knowledgeable about and inspired to take responsibility for the sustainability of the world. We educate young leaders in global citizenship by championing a new model of learning that connects the timeless lessons from nature to relevant and effective preparation for a fast-changing future.
“Vision: Our vision is of a natural, holistic, student-centered learning environment that empowers and inspires our students to be creative, innovative, green leaders.
“Values: We believe in three simple rules underlying every decision: be local; let your environment be your guide; and envisage how your grandchildren will be affected by your actions.
“The eight Green School iRespect Values that guide us are Integrity, Responsibility, Empathy, Sustainability, Peace, Equality, Community, and Trust.”