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: