Monday, October 26, 2009

Habits of Highly Ineffective Principals - focus on trivia

Overemphasize the Mission Statement.

Some people feel a HIP is one who avoids the mission statement at all costs, but I am am not so sure. In general, those who ignore any type of mission statement are not particularly good, but those who spend time and schedule meetings drafting a new one for the school are missing the boat entirely.

Mission Statements tries to justify this wild-goose chase by saying, "A school mission statement can help you decide if what they offer and the way they provide it lines up with your educational goals."

"Community School recognizes that each child is an individual; that all children are creative; that all children need to succeed. Therefore, Community School respects the individual needs of children; fosters a caring and creative environment; and emphasizes the social, emotional, physical, intellectual development of each child."

Whatever. Wouldn't you like, just once, to see a mission statement that read, The school's mission: "We will teach our students. We won't waste our time trying to make this simple idea sound more dramatic or all-inclusive, nor will we try to invoke barely understood thoughts of futuristic or intellectually-vague bullshit."

I had to chuckle when I read this one, so "different" and "descriptive".
"Kitty Hawk Elementary School seeks to create a challenging learning environment that encourages high expectations for success through development-appropriate instruction that allows for individual differences and learning styles. Our school promotes a safe, orderly, caring, and supportive environment. Each student's self-esteem is fostered by positive relationships with students and staff. We strive to have our parents, teachers, and community members actively involved on our students' learning."
It an elementary school, for crying out loud. I wonder how many hours they spent coming up with this load of dreck. I can hear it now, vigorous argument over whather it should be "safe, orderly, caring, and supportive" or "caring, safe, supportive and orderly."

1 comment:

  1. My principal (not a HIP) has disliked the mission statement since he arrived (it's not horrible, nor is it horribly well-written).

    Finally this year we are changing some ways we do business in such a way that the statement is at least partially inaccurate. I am assuming he will assign (maybe 2) people to go draft a substitute, and then a committee I am on will read, review, and approve.

    IOW, it will be written to reflect the good stuff we already do, and the work will occupy at most 2 people.

    I relate this not to disagree, but to point out that it is possible to be aware of all the minor details, without letting them consume a school or waste teachers' time.