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The Mission Driven School Stephen Robinson, President Southern Association of Independent Schools.

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Presentation on theme: "The Mission Driven School Stephen Robinson, President Southern Association of Independent Schools."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Mission Driven School Stephen Robinson, President Southern Association of Independent Schools

2 Sources of information: DeKuyper, Mary Hundley (2008). Trustee Handbook: A Guide to Effective Governance for Independent School Boards, Ninth Edition. National Association of Independent Schools: Washington, DC Grace, K. S.; McClellan, A.; and Yankey, J. A. (2009). The Nonprofit Board’s Role in Mission, Planning, and Evaluation. 2 nd Edition. Board Source: Washington, DC

3 The Value Proposition Enrollment Coefficient (EnC) High Ability - 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - 0 Low Ability Ability to Pay Perceived Value of Your School Perceived Value of Alternative School High Value - 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - 0 Low Value High Value - 10 - 9 - 8 - 7 - 6 - 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1 - 0 Low Value

4 The Fog Bowl The lead official stated, “As long as we can see the goal posts, we will continue the game.” December 31, 1988 the Chicago Bears vs. Philadelphia Eagles in the division championship game. For Independent Schools our Mission is our goal post. As long as we can keep the “goal posts” in sight we are able to pursue that Mission.

5 As an Administrator/Leader, what would you do? You are notified that an offer has been made to provide a long term lease for undeveloped land adjacent to your property. The offer is for 5,000 additional acres to add to your current 700 acres. The stipulation for the offer is as follows:  The lease would be for $1 per year for a period of 100 years.  You must agree to upgrade and maintain the fencing of the leased property, an initial cost that would be approximately $1.5 million.

6 As an Administrator/Leader, what would you do? (cont)  You must agree to maintain and improve, as needed, the roads that currently access the land.  You must agree not to build any structure requiring a concrete footing or install utilities on the land.  You must agree that the land will not be accessible to minor children outside of a vehicle and unaccompanied by an adult.

7 Other considerations… The $1.5 million needed for the fencing upgrade could be accomplished if you reallocate funds set aside for renovation of current facilities; a much needed renovation but could be postponed for a couple of years if absolutely necessary. The 5,000 acres would increase your total land holdings by 700 percent, however, it would also increase your maintenance budget and staffing requirements. Although other land is available in the area, most does not border your current land and it tends to be quite expensive and would require a major campaign to raise the money to purchase.

8 What would you do? (cont) Would you recommend that your board enter into this lease? Why or why not?

9 What would you do? (cont) Additional information……. the organization you lead is…. the Yukon Wildlife Preserve… with a mission….. “To promote knowledge and foster appreciation of arctic and boreal ecology through the creation of a centre of northern education, conservation and research excellence at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.”

10 Would this additional information change your recommendation?

11 Mission Paradigm Paradigm: “A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.” The American Heritage Dictionary What are the assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that must shape our mission?

12 What Is a Mission? It is your school’s “Commander’s Intent.” Your school’s “reason for being.” That about your school which your families “cannot live without.”

13 The Mission Statement Comprehensive long version of the Mission Statement (not more than one page). Concise three to five point Mission Statement for quick reference and for media sound bites. School slogan or motto; two to six words describing what the schools stands for.

14 The Mission Statement (cont.) Reflects reason for being. Reflects areas of uniqueness and competence. Reflects philosophy, core values, and beliefs. Identifies whom the school serves. States the school’s primary strategic direction.

15 The Mission Statement (cont.) Serves as the guide for major decisions while allowing flexibility in their implementation. Sets a standard for evaluation of programs and services. Stimulates energy and commitment. Reads clearly and succinctly.

16 Adherence to the Mission Preserving the mission at all costs. Do not attempt to become “all things to all people.” Right sizing versus expanding the mission to maintain size. Is the mission ever obsolete and does an institution’s life ever expire?

17 Threats to the Mission Inadequate understanding of the mission. Inadequate discussion of the mission. Crisis evoking panic or blurring the focus on the mission. Attempting to be “all things to all people.” Inadequate funding of the mission. Trustees or Head of School not understanding their appropriate role in serving the mission.

18 Communicating the Mission Don’t “bury the lead.” All prospective families should be clear of your mission. How does your mission “meet the needs” of your prospective students?

19 Evaluating the Mission Board regularly reviews to keep relevant. Modifications are data driven. Appropriate respect paid when modifying. Changing strategies or operations does not necessarily involve changing the mission.

20 When is it appropriate to modify the Mission? The reason for an organization’s existence has faded from the community’s needs. The need has been met. Another organization now exists that is meeting this need more effectively. Significant new opportunities have arisen that prompt a rethinking of the mission on a deeper level. A split has emerged among the leadership or members as to the fundamental mission and direction of the organization.

21 The “Living Mission Statement” Must be used to inform all board decisions. Must be used to inform all decisions in the school community. Helps the board focus on governance issues.

22 Schools Are Compared Only to Their Own Mission Never should a school compare itself to “the school down the road.” Do not be lulled into the trap of building buildings or implementing programs because “everyone else is doing it.” Focus on what is necessary to implement your school’s mission to the highest degree possible.

23 The Board: Keeper of the Mission Recognize that you have fiduciary responsibility for the school. Understand you are legally responsible for the school. Regularly review the mission for continued relevance. Establish policies and procedures to be implemented by the school’s administration. Hire “only” the CEO (Head of School) as the manager of the “day-to-day” operations. Defend and further the mission in formal and informal settings.

24 The Head: Executer of the Mission Hire and supervise qualified and competent faculty and staff to serve the mission. Manage the school’s board approved budget in a professionally responsible manner. Ensure adherence to policies by the school community. Provide leadership for all stakeholders of the school community. Communicate the mission regularly to the school community and stakeholders.

25 Results of a Mission Driven School A school that is “comfortable it its own skin.” A school where all decisions are made with concern for the impact on mission. A school where stakeholders are fully aware of the mission. A school that optimizes its impact on the development of all students.

26 Stephen Robinson, Ph.D., President Southern Association of Independent Schools (404) 227-2770

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