Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You have to know where you want to go or else you’ll never get there.


One of the more powerful exercises educational leaders can engage their communities in is developing a shared vision.  A focused approach to  articulating the vision for your school provides each constituent group the chance to voice not only areas of agreement, but also allows leaders to identify seemingly different opinions.  The agreed upon components can help define the all-important shared vision.  Leaders can capitalize on areas of apparent disconnect by aligning action plans to address these disconnections to the strategic goals for the school as a whole.  In the end, there is great potential to discover unknown resources from within the faculty and parent communities while establishing an atmosphere of partnership and collaboration.

As potentially powerful such an initiative may be, it will not have nearly the impact if leaders do not have a clear personal vision for their schools.  As leaders gain experience, their visions may change, therefore reflecting on your own personal vision from time to time is an important piece to developing a genuine shared vision in your school.  Here are some suggested areas for you to reflect upon as you develop your vision.  These are also areas in which to engage your community as you lead them through their own vision development.  For each area, your vision should describe your “optimal” situation.

When writing your vision, I suggest using active voice and present tense.  For example, “ By employing self-directed discovery, students gain the confidence and framework to define a greater vision of themselves and how they create opportunities for themselves.”

  • Student Outcomes
  • Instructional Environment/Culture
  • Instruction (Teaching and Learning)
  • Professional Development
  • Leadership and Governance
If you have additional items to add to this list, please share.  I am always eager to hear and learn from other educational leaders.
If you choose to use this list, I would be interested to hear how it goes with your school.
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