Building a Mission and Vision

As a school district continues on its journey to deeply embed a new vision and mission for the district that pulls us into a new era of learning throughout the district, they should have had an opportunity to look at a number of versions of vision and mission around the country. Most of the statements are dead upon completion. Some because they were designed by too few people and others because they are filled with words and jargon that holds no cultural purpose in the organization. The best ones though seem to be based around three ideas. The first is a recognition that inquiry is central to learning and that all learners, both students and adult, should have the opportunity to grow in a space of inquiry. The second is about innovation. The term innovation is in linguistic overload these days, but at the heart it is about change and ideas. For too long, schools have been places of rules, routines, and repetition, and the school with the best vision and mission statements are saying enough with those 3Rs. Finally, the best living vision and mission statements are about impact. Excellent forward-thinking schools want to make an impact on their students, community, and beyond. It is no longer good enough to make our schools better. The best spaces for learning are demanding impact in the community and beyond as well. How can all of a school's ecosystem design and own some of these central tenants of excellent mission and vision?