School Improvement in Maryland
Creating a Vision
navigation Principal's Role in Creating a Vision
navigation Exercise for Identifying Core Beliefs
navigation Exercise for Creating a Shared Vision
Creating a shared vision for your school is key to engaging in the school improvement process.

The first step in developing more effective schools is describing the school you seek to become. Or as Yogi Berra says, "If you don't know where you are going, you probably aren't going to get there." Identifying where you want to go in relation to where you are is the key to identifying those areas where you need to improve.

Your school community needs to create a shared vision for your school based on a set of core beliefs to which your school community can commit. The vision will need to reflect your school district vision and goals as well as the state standards. Your school improvement priorities need to be aligned with your school vision.

Though creating a shared vision is a slow process, it is not a difficult one. It requires staff and other stakeholders to identify and share their core beliefs and describe how their ideal school would look. Exercises that could be used for this purpose are linked below. After staff has identified and shared their own beliefs and ideas, the process of consensus building begins.

A school that can identify its core beliefs and values has created an empowering framework for monitoring how well the school is doing and whether individual strategies and activities are aligned with the core values. For example, the Stevenson High School staff agreed on five core values:

  1. We will teach to the agreed upon course objectives and provide evidence of student achievement of those objectives.
  2. We will make full use of the instructional time allotted to us.
  3. We will demonstrate our belief and expectation that all students can achieve the objectives of the courses to which they are assigned.
  4. We will help to insure an orderly atmosphere that is conducive to learning throughout the building.
  5. We will treat all members of the school community with respect.