Will Richardson blogged about his visit to the Science Leadership Academy and also kindly included a link to his Flickr photoset of the visit. This photo caught my eye and made me wonder why we don't have similar signs posted around our building. Then I got to wondering if our students could even identify our core values. Of course, then I wondered the same thing of our staff. Which then reminded me of this earlier post on The Fischbowl and I got frustrated all over again (yes, I do this a lot to myself).
I've blogged before (here and here) expressing my doubts about whether we as a faculty "have a vision of what a well-educated student looks like after four years of study" at AHS. But I think the author makes an important statement when he says "A good test of the degree to which a school has such a vision framing its instructional program is the number of students who can articulate the vision . . ." - emphasis is mine. This goes back to some of the ideas in The Power of Their Ideas book that I excerpted previously. If you randomly stopped 10 students in the hall at AHS, what kind of response do you think you would get to the question "What's Arapahoe's vision and describe how your current, previous, and future classes are contributing to achieving it?"We've talked a lot about Essential Learnings for courses in our school, and that's not a bad thing, but I still think we have a long way to go if even we as a staff can't articulate the vision and identify our core values. I think we (and that includes me) need to do some hard thinking about this and clearly identify our core values. What do we believe about education? Learning? School? Students?What do you believe?
My opinion is that if we were a great school, not just a good school, at least 8 out of the 10 students (and 9 or 10 on a good day) would give a pretty good answer. Do we not think this vision is important enough to communicate it to our students? Or do we not think they are capable of grasping it? I worry about how many of our staff would answer yes to both of those . . .