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Illustration of of kids in line. Two kids holding trophies
Illustration of of kids in line. Two kids holding trophies


Only 2 in 5 secondary students say they feel like valued members of their own school community.

Source: Quaglia Institute

A well-articulated mission helps every member of a school community understand what “success” looks like for every student and to work together to achieve both short-term and long-term goals. 

One of the fundamental responsibilities of a principal is to bring a school’s mission to life. But not even the most capable leader can accomplish a mission alone. The whole school has to come together to reinforce the purpose and principles through their values and behavior. An effective principal creates structures within which others can lead and contribute.

Staff members need opportunities to cultivate their shared commitment through professional learning and collaboration. They can analyze student performance data together, for example, develop interventions that help solve problems, and experiment with new curricula and programs. 

Students need opportunities to build an inclusive peer culture that aligns with and enhances the mission and identity of their school. Their ongoing engagement helps keep the school on track toward its highest aspirations for what every student can achieve. 

A clear mission also helps community members and partners recognize what they can do to contribute meaningfully to a school’s success and sustainability.

“The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued.”

Sir Ken Robinson — (On the Principles of Creative Leadership)

Dive Deep

  1. a student smiling
    10 Principles of Equity Literacy

    A mission that works for all students all of the time demands a deep, shared understanding of equity. These ten principles can help.

  2. two students working
    Designing for All Learners

    During the pandemic, Brooklyn LAB leaned into its core principles—and reconnected with its identity as a place where learning works for all.

  3. a teacher teaching
    Common Model, Many Missions

    New Tech Network schools share a common learning model based on four design principles, but each has its own unique mission.

  4. a student working

    A national survey of students suggests that high schools should pay more attention to the social and emotional side of education.

Download the Our Promise to Students Worksheet