How can you visualize the future scenario of your school?
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Whatever you visualize, it should represent a shared vision of the school’s core values.
The mission statement will drive the operations of the training program, and will emphasize our program’s core values. An evaluation of the core values our teacher training program and school in general is important in determining what is needed in the mission statement. The mission statement and the organizational values they are based upon set the tone of the environment, bond people together, facilitate work behavior, and help teachers achieve shared goals (Hassan, 2007).
A mission statement should not be seen as a list of obligations imposed from the top down, but rather as a public declaration of responsibilities that the stakeholders have voluntarily accepted for themselves (Meacham, 2008). Without adequate involvement, “core values printed on glossy paper will remain only on paper” (Hassan, 2007).
Determining what core values to include in our mission statement will involve many stakeholders: assistant teachers, teachers, administrators, enrollment specialists, content developers, and others. The entire teaching staff will participate in drafting the training program’s mission statement. Their involvement will ensure that the effects of the mission statement are long-lasting, and will carry with them throughout their tenure in our program.
The notion of vision and the processes of shared visioning and strategic visioning are widely used in education as a way of articulating a new order and building consensus for change (McNay and Graham, 2007). The content of this shared vision must be clearly expressed in the training program’s mission statement.
Regular conversations with the school’s teachers and faculty members about the program’s vision will help to enrich the mission statement. The process of renewing a group’s commitment to its mission statement can strengthen and sustain friendships and feelings of academic community (Meacham, 2008). If antipathy toward the mission statement exists among the teachers, it would surely undermine efforts to make the vision a significant goal in teacher training. Most teachers, however, do not forget why they teach, and they retain their sense of calling, service, and passion; they maintain their ideals which guide them (McNay and Graham, 2007). If the mission statement is well-crafted and well-implemented, our new program will channel the teachers’ passion for education towards acquisition of the skills and knowledge of a master teacher.
Hassan, A. (2007). Human resource development and organizational values. Journal of European Industrial Training, 31(6), 435. Key role of mission statements in post-16 education and training. (2003). Education & Training, 45(4/5), 286-287. McNay, M. and Graham, R. (2007). Can Cooperating Teachers Help Student Teachers Develop a Vision of Education? The Teacher Educator, 42(3), 224-236. Meacham, J. (2008). What's the Use of a Mission Statement? Academe, 94(1), 21-24, 3.
The previous post is very lucid. Might I also suggest that some component of this future scenario has to take into account how student needs and literacies will change over time. Perhaps, this will be represented by accounting for greater emphasis on special needs students, or enhancing technological literacies. The reality is that the future scenario of any building requires a bit of navigating current reality with projecting future demands. Administrators and head teachers who wish to successfully plan for the future must do so with the understanding that current students' needs have to be met and future students' needs must also be included in any long term vision. It is this component which proves to be one of the toughest in charting a successful course of action for a school.
The future state of any school depends in part on the future state of its town/city. My school's town used to be a blue collar community, so that affected the demand for certain types of classes. Our vocational programs, for example, were very strong. When the town's demographic shifted and we had a more white-collar commuter base, parents began to express a desire for fewer vocational classes and more college-prep classes. Even the guidance department found itself focusing on different resources. I am certainly not saying that parent preference should run a school district; I regret the fact that we do not offer as many vocational resources to the kids that still need them. Going forward, the town's economic situation is bound to have a great impact on the schoo's future. Given the town budget cuts projected for next year, we are anticipating changes in everything from class number to courses offered. While this may not seem to influence the long-term future of the school, it actually does. When a program is cut from the budget, it usually does not come back. So, the consumer science and health curriculums that we lost will probably not be a part of our curriculum in the coming years.
Seeing into the future is very tricky, especially with the way the economy is today. Poster #2 gives great information, set your Vision Statement based on good solid principles and this will help with whatever changes occur in the future. You have to also look at the past and analyze the trends in growth both in your district and the community. Look at the trends for your sub-groups, such as Special Needs, LEP, Free and Reduced Lunch and try to determine the growth rates of them as well as over all student growth.
Any school community that wants to have a semblance of control over its future has to embrace the reality of the present. School leadership has to look with a clear eye and where the school stands in terms of climate, culture, student achievement, and other measures. At the same time, it is necessary to knit the community together around a shared vision of what the future can hold. Specific goals must be set, with benchmarks identified for progress. Successes and failures alike must be shared along the way.
I think we have a decent administrator. He tries to make decisions based on what’s best for the students. However, changes need to be made in schools (not just ours) that help identify and engage disengage students. I’m starting with me and my classroom.
It is a very difficult time for education right now. It is a bit hard to remain positive with all of the budget cuts happening in the United States. I am hoping that all of the hardships in education going one right now will end, hopefully sooner than later. Most importantly, I would like to see better financial decisions being made. When better financial decisions can be made then the future of education will be brighter.
My school is a private school, so I think we're in good shape. As the public schools around us emphasize test scores more than teaching, lay off the best teachers in droves, and double class size, we look more and more attractive. Even in this tough economy, some people can't stomach the public schools.
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