Mission and Vision Statements- Our Observations
Well I’m set for next week’s topic which is Our Vision and Mission Statement first go round. Obviously I want an iron clad set of essentials that will make it clear to parents and children what our school will guarantee for them. And clear to employees what school they are working in, and what is expected of them.
I am wondering, though, that without a clear management structure, how any list of first principles can be protected. So after we get our vision and mission statement clear I will be looking forward to designing long term management protection.
40+ Years of Experience
In my 40+ years of experience I have seen many power struggles within schools not with only a weak Vision but also with a weak management structure.
Education is rife with fashion trends, swings in ideology, people wanting to implement pet theories for the best intentions or for self-serving intentions. Just about everyone thinks they know about education. When I was the Education Manager at Summerhill School I saw Zoe, Neill’s daughter, who was born at the school, went to the school, and is now the principal, being told by new parents that she didn’t understand Neill and didn’t really understand Summerhill.
The More the Merrier?
The creation of Democratic Free School Visions and Mission Statements are harder the more people involved, and can be under pressure when dreamy group theories of a school come up against the realities of a first year. Within mainstream education, when things go wrong solutions are found to particulars but the essential philosophy ( even if we disagree with it) is maintained.
When Democratic Free School Education novices encounter problems there can be general panic, lack of confidence, a weakening of resolve. A tendency by some to abandon ship, or to mutiny and take over the ship.
All the more reason to get things right.
Observations about the Conversation
Mission statements should not be controversial, in my opinion. They serve two main purposes:
- They help you to plan. It is much better to have a clear idea of where you want to go, even if you change your mind later. I hate going for a walk with someone who is indecisive at every point of the hike. It is just plain irritating.
- They help your staff, parents and kids understand what your business is all about. It is mere chaos to allow everyone a voice in everything. It drives everyone up the wall and means that the wisest and sanest voices just move away from your project. You will end up with a room full of shouter