School Culture Starts With Purpose!

Do you know what your “School Purpose” is?

More importantly – do the teachers know? What about the students and parents?

Having a unified purpose is so important I think it should always be capitalized: Purpose. It’s not just important in education – every worth-while business book I’ve read about company culture starts with a chapter on company Purpose (note the capital P).

Unfortunately, for some reason, this important step in creating an amazing culture at school often gets missed. So here are three quick steps to defining your school’s Purpose (again, note the capital P).

1. Define and Document
Start by asking your staff for words or phrases about what they believe their Purpose is at school. Some GOOD stuff is going to come up. “Star” the ones that keep coming up or resonating with everyone.

hint: Put a time cap to keep everyone engaged. 10-15 minutes of brainstorming should be enough.

2. Create Purpose Statements
Take the 6-10 top/most popular words or phrases and turn those into clear and concise Purpose statements. Here are a couple of good examples:

Our mission is to develop young men with active and creative minds, a sense of understanding and compassion for others, and the courage to act on their beliefs. We stress the total development of each child: spiritual, moral, intellectual, social, emotional, and physical.

Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart

City High School strives to be a community of learners in which all members use their minds well and care about one another. We engage with challenging academics and the unique resources of our city and region in order to become active citizens and responsible stewards of our world.

City High School, Tucson, AZ

hint: Break-out into groups to tackle this step a bit faster. And recognize that many of your ideas will meld together into one statement.

3. Vote
At your next staff meeting, give everyone a ballot and ask them to choose the top 3, 4, or 5 statements that they most strongly connect with. Tally up and you have a set of clear Purpose Statements. It’s that easy!

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