Many people might wonder what the point of setting the right school mission is? Isn't it enough that the schools educate my children and take care of their emotional and personal growth? Admittedly, the concept of school mission can be a little bit unfamiliar in Vietnam. Besides international schools, most public schools do not have a unique mission statement or a school philosophy. So what is the role of a mission statement in an educational setting? And why is it important to set the right mission before one decides to invest in building a school?
1. Why do we need a mission statement?
Well, besides the core educational philosophy of "everything for our beloved children" that you heard over and over again, let's ask yourself: What is special about the school that sets you out from others? What are the purposes of your schools?
Are your educational programs catered to the needs of your prospective students? Are your extracurricular activities well-designed to ensure students' growth and development both physically and spiritually? If the answer is yes to these questions, you should consider writing a mission statement to broadcast your ideas to the world.
School mission statements lay out educational goals, community priorities, and the purpose of your school. They guide growth and learning in many different contexts.
Indeed, if your school is a human body, then the mission statement is the blood veins that guide all of your functional activities. Besides, it also acts as a powerful marketing tool. A good mission statement helps parents rest assured that their children are being taken care of. This also attracts the attention of prospective families who might consider sending their kids to your school.
And most importantly, setting a mission lets the authority know that your school is driven to succeed, and your students will be equipped with essential skills to conquer the world. With these many benefits, I think we can agree that having a mission statement is critical to your education institution's success. So let's move on to the next step: How do we write a powerful message?
2. How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement?
You have all those questions about the purpose of the school laid out in front of you. Yet, you cannot answer all the problems by yourself. To write a powerful mission statement, an effective school leader must consult many different stakeholders: from the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), school shareholders, to teachers and students.
Above is the list of all stakeholders that will affect the formulation of your mission statement.
First of all, you would like to identify your audience: for whom are you writing this statement? Are they students, teachers, school staff, or school shareholders? Keep in mind that since all schools need to follow the guidelines and regulations posted by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), your mission statement should take into consideration the educational values and instructional design recommended by MOET. Then, talk to your school board investors about future directions of your school and ask them for recommendations. They hold the decision-making power of the school, which is why you should involve them in this process.
Second, although the top management and governmental entities are important, at the end of the day, we must write a statement with students' interests in mind.
The mission statement needs to be student-centered with a clear sense of purpose.
Ask yourself these: Who are your students? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What can we (as a school) help them grow academically and personally? As you begin to contemplate writing the right mission, involve your teachers in this process. They are the ones who interact with students regularly, which makes them the perfect candidates for answering these questions.
Third, make your mission statement clear and concise. People need to read the statement and understand your intention right away. A good mission statement needs to reflect the school's values and priorities, as well as include the primary functions of the school.
To help you write a powerful mission statement, we have compiled all the tips above into this Mission Statement Checklist! Follow this and you can formulate a great school philosophy that would help broadcast your passion widely.
3. Examples of Good Mission Statements
Kitty Hawk Elementary School seeks to create a challenging learning environment that encourages high expectations for success through development-appropriate instruction that allows for individual differences and learning styles. Our school promotes a safe, orderly, caring, and supportive environment. Each student's self-esteem is fostered by positive relationships with students and staff. We strive to have our parents, teachers, and community members actively involved on our students' learning.
-- Kitty Hawk Elementary School (North Carolina, U.S.A)
Community School recognizes that each child is an individual; that all children are creative; that all children need to succeed. Therefore, Community School respects the individual needs of children; fosters a caring and creative environment; and emphasizes the social, emotional, physical, intellectual development of each child.
-- Community School (Virginia, U.S.A)
We want to end this piece with some recommendations. It is crucial to write a good mission statement for your school. However, communicating your message to your staff is even more essential.
From the top administration to the teaching staff, everyone in your school needs to know and act our your mission.
They need to be continuously reminded of this philosophy and let it guide them to make effective decisions. If you can make the mission statement inclusive and transparent, it is no doubt that your school will be off to a great start!