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Values and Beliefs

By Sherry Kinzel

Have you ever thought, “It sure would be nice to have everybody in our building on the same page”? I often hear principals who desperately want all of their staff members to “get on board” so they can move forward. Those same pleas are echoed by literacy coaches, who hope to create school environments where teachers are all “speaking the same language.” Well, these thoughts are more than just nice ideas. They stem from the desire to create a shared vision for everyone involved in educating our children.

Research indicates that in high-performing schools, “everybody knows where they are going and why. The focus is on achieving a shared vision, and all understand their role in achieving the vision. The focus and vision are developed from common beliefs and values, creating a consistent direction for all involved” (Shannon & Bylsma, 2003).

Does your staff have a shared vision, a means of communicating its values and beliefs? If so, how was it created? Was it a vision created by all stakeholders or one individual?

Having a staff create a shared vision enables colleagues to tap into and clarify their own values and beliefs regarding teaching and learning. It also develops a sense of ownership for educating each child. This should be the initial work of a literacy leadership team. Literacy Collaborative supports the development of a literacy leadership team, through which a set of shared values and beliefs are constructed and supported through professional development and coaching.

How would your literacy leadership team respond to the following questions: Does everybody in the building know where we are going and why? Does everybody know their role for achieving the vision? If so, how are we monitoring our progress? If not, let’s start those conversations today.

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