Friday, July 15, 2011
School goal for continuous improvement
Looking for a goal statement or mission statement for your school that emphasizes continuous improvement? Here's a candidate:
Increase the positives and decrease the negative so that each student learns the target curriculum to the best of his or her ability and all are enthusiastic about learning.
Here's why I like this goal statement.
- Increase the positives and decrease the negatives - this phrase emphasizes that we're about improvement. We do some things right and some things wrong and we can always get better.
- Each student learns - that's why we're here.
- The target curriculum - clearly, performing well on standardized tests and state learning objectives is important. It's insufficient if every child learns but doesn't learn what we're there to teach.
- To the best of his or her ability - the weakness of this phrase is that it's hard to know exactly what a student's ability is. On the other hand, we know that students do have a range of abilities which will affect their learning.
- And all are enthusiastic about learning - going through school is a start, not an end. Kids enter kindergarten eager to learn just about everything, but often leave high school with much different attitudes. The content is important and the attitude toward learning is at least as important.
How does this guide continuous improvement?
- Identify the positives and negatives for learning content and enthusiasm. Measure improvement along these dimensions. Positives and negatives include teaching approaches but also include the schoolwide discipline climate, issues at home and even the condition of the physical school building.
- Testing is obviously an important metric, but not the only one. How the student feels about the learning experience may also guide how teachers teach.
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