Does Your School District Have a Vision and Mission Statement?
January 3rd, 2023
When you think of vision and mission statements, you might think this is a practice meant for businesses; however, it can be a vital best practice that contributes to the success of your school!
Creating a vision and mission statement for your school district helps establish a central purpose within the school community. It also provides a clear picture to the public of your school district’s reason for being, long-term goals, and plan for accomplishing those goals. While the vision and the mission statement are similar, and sometimes even combined into one document or statement, they each serve a unique purpose.
Your school district’s vision is essentially its North Star. It describes the vision for the future, long-term goals, and the “why” behind daily operations and district policies. Commonly, school district visions center around goals for student-learning and lifelong academic and/or personal success (Murray, n.d.).
A mission statement, on the other hand, outlines the steps your school district plans to take to achieve its vision. It focuses more on day-to-day operations. Your mission statement can also go into your founding purpose and reason for being (Murray, n.d.). It might be helpful to visualize your mission statement as a set of steps leading to your vision.
Why Should Your School District Have a Vision and Mission Statement?
In addition to clearly defining your school district’s future goals and action plan, a vision and mission statement establishes a central purpose that can guide decision-making, policy development, resource allocation, and other aspects of school operations.
It can also support staff members and teachers in directing their energy in a way that ensures maximum student impact as well as provide guidelines for school activities and strategies. Finally, vision and mission statements help build trust among the local community by providing transparency into the school district’s intentions and plans.
Vision and Mission Statement Best Practices
Not all vision and mission statements are created equal. Below are just a few best practices to guide your school district during the development phase to ensure optimal results.
- Be genuine. Avoid using gimmicky or marketing-type language. While it might sound nice and professional, it can also come off as insincere. Rather than crafting statements that you believe will sound nice to the public, focus on highlighting the true goals and strategies of your school district.
- Make it a cross-functional effort. Your vision and mission statement should have both input and buy-in from a variety of stakeholders, including teachers, staff, and leadership. This helps ensure that those involved are committed to advancing the school district’s goals and reinforces the validity of the statements made.
- Focus on students. School districts have both student-focused and non-student-focused goals, but the main priority should be helping students succeed. Your school district can create its own unique definition of success, but it’s important for the vision and mission statement to be student-oriented.
- Ensure relevancy. Once your vision and mission statement is created, it’s important to view it as a living document and make updates as needed. As society and culture changes, the needs and goals of your school district likely will as well (Allen and Kern, 2018).
Considerations for Developing Your School District’s Vision and Mission Statement
Preparing to develop your school district’s vision and mission statement can be quite the task, but a bit of pre-planning will make the process easier and more natural. A few questions to consider before sitting down to work on the first draft are:
- How will the vision and mission statement be communicated and implemented?
- How will the vision and mission statement be connected to current school policies and practices? Will school policies and practices need to be updated or modified?
- Who will prepare the vision and mission statement? Will it be created by the School Board, a committee of staff members, a cross-functional team, or another group?
- What are the core values of the leaders, staff, teachers, and students involved in the school district?
- Will there be a committee for periodically reviewing and updating the school district’s vision and mission statement?
When it comes to creating a school environment that serves students, staff, teachers, and the community, developing a vision and mission statement is key to success. As a school leader, establishing both can help you lead your school district in the right direction, ensure collaboration and improve motivation among staff and teachers, and, most importantly, support ongoing student success.
Allen, K and Kern, P. (2018). School vision and mission statements should not be dismissed as
empty words. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/school-vision-and-mission-statements-should-not-be-dismissed-as-empty-words-97375
Murray, K. (n.d.). Mission, Vision, and School Culture: New Schools Guide. Colorado League of
Charter Schools. PDF. https://www.cde.state.co.us/cdechart/newschoolworkbookbootcamp