On Satchat this past Saturday, the first question for us was ‘What is a CLASSROOM essential you must have to start school year?’ The question was the first of three focusing on education essentials for the upcoming school year. It was a great conversation, it always is, and it got me thinking, is there something that is a classroom or in the case of the administrator, a school essential for the beginning of the new year?
For me, there is one essential that you need to start with – what is your vision for your school for the year ahead?
Vision gets overlooked in the rush to get the school year going. Vision, however, is essential and when it is lacking it can colour the entire school year. If the vision for the upcoming year is something that all staff members can agree with, a well-articulated vision can be the start of a wonderful school year.
So, what goes into creating this vision? First, comes a conversation with staff – what is it that we need to achieve this year? What do our students, our parents and the wider community need from our school over the next ten months?
I really think vision should not be as pedestrian as increasing math scores or some other mundane goal. We are all in the business of teaching a set curriculum to our students. It’s what we are paid for. Of course, we want higher scores, a culture of high expectations leads to better student performance. That’s not vision, it’s common sense.
Vision should be something beyond what we are expected to do by our district or school board. Vision should bring everyone together and it should be clearly understood and articulated by everyone in the school community.
What could that vision be? It may involve developing a stronger presence in the community. It could be developing a strong environmental awareness amongst the school community. Maybe it is the collective decision to advance the digital literacy of staff, students and parents.
Whatever it is, make it big. Make it something that staff members can get behind. Make it something everyone can be proud of. Make it something that looks to the bigger picture and does not get caught up in the minutiae of the education machine.
So, there is still time, what vision would you like to introduce to your school community as the next year starts up?