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Module 4

School Mission and Culture

Why does every school need a clear, well-articulated mission?

By identifying ambitious goals that everyone shares, a school can build a framework for better teaching and learning.

A coherent, mission-based culture can inspire and unify a school community.

Schools are complex organizations, made up of innumerable processes and activities that need to fit together coherently. Schools function best when their stakeholders are guided by a cohesive culture, shared values, and a common set of beliefs about what they are trying to achieve.

The formula is straightforward: Goals + Values + Approach = Mission.

To design and build truly effective schools for the future, we need to think about, talk about, and ultimately agree on the educational principles we want to work for and fight for. Schools that get those elements right are stronger; they are also more resilient and better able to adapt creatively to challenges and setbacks.

  1. How can we create schools in which all the design elements work together to advance a core mission and a clear set of goals for student learning and engagement?
  2. How do students experience their school and their role as learners within it? How do different groups of students experience school differently? What norms and expectations are shared by everyone?
  3. How should schools set high learning goals for all students, create pathways for students to succeed, and assess student success during and beyond high school?
  4. How can schools cultivate consistent, productive, respectful relationships and an inclusive, supportive community among students, teachers, parents, and others?