Mission, Vision, and Core Values tend to serve as the foundation of most educational institutions. Much of what is done in schools tends to be focused on the mission, vision, and core values of the district. As a new employee to the district, I am able to gain much information from the mission, vision, and core values of the school district. Having a solid foundation helps develop the school for what they are trying to accomplish, and is necessary as we move forward.
I entered the district shortly after a new mission, vision, and set of core values was adopted. For me, it was inspiring to see the amount of work and planning that went into the process of settling on the driving statement for the district for the years to come. A large committee of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and local business owners meet for months to develop and shape a mission that serve the community that we are serving. All stakeholders were involved in the process, allowing for total buy in from all. For a new employee, it allowed me to get a better understanding of just what the district is trying to do.
I took advantage of a special board meeting in August. This special meeting was set up to introduce the community to the new mission, vision, and core values the district would be striving towards. The meeting, held in the high school auditorium, was well attended by the community. As a new employee to the district, this was a special and unique setting for me to be in. It provided me with a great lens to learn more about the community and students that I would be serving. As the superintendent explained the process for selecting the new statements, many of the parents and students were completely engaged. As he went over the goals, it was evident that I made the correct decision in deciding to join the district in my role. It was important to me that the mission and vision align to my beliefs about education. Here, they did.
When it came time for community questions, it also shone light onto how the community views education. This was a typical board meeting, but was more well-attended than the other board meetings that I have been to in the district. When it came time for the question and answer session, I found out more about the district. Many of the parents were concerned about the cost-saving measures around transportation. Every question brought forth by the parents of students in the district focused on the shift from two bus runs to a single bus run and common starting times in all buildings. There was little question as to how the new mission, vision, and core values would be implemented on a wider basis and how it would impact the students and their learning.
When I think of changes and public forums around education, I think they are more widely attended and contested regarding actual academic issues, not simple transportation issues. For me, it was a wake up call to what many parents are concerned about. Not always is it about the educational opportunities afforded to students, which for students in grades 6-11 was the adoption of a 1-1 computer program, but instead, where students in grades K-12 would sit on the bus. For someone new to the community, I was informed by my mentor that many students don’t care much about the education, and compulsory education laws impact our attendance greatly. There seems to be little value placed from some in the community and that impacts what teachers and administrators can do in their buildings.
While it is unfair to paint this meeting in such a negative manner, I do think we need to find a way to engage more stakeholders to understand the value of a strong K-12 school system. With partnerships in the community and with stakeholders, the impact of K-12 education can grow stronger and stronger. The mission, vision, and core values all show that is the direction that the school district is heading towards, which is excellent for all stakeholders to be aware of. As we begin to implement five year plans, I think that it is vital that we continue to involve stakeholders. A whole community needs to be involved in the educational decision making process.
As I continue my career, it is essential that I work and find places that my personal beliefs about education fit with the mission and goals of my employer. I want to ensure I have no difficulty establishing, following, and supporting district initiatives. It is important that I continue to strive towards bringing all stakeholders along in meaningful ways, not simply focusing on transportation issues.