Looking back, to move ahead: creating a sustainable school vision

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Riley, Darcey R.
This research project examined how the knowledge of the past and purpose of a school site can strengthen the creation of a sustainable school vision. It was developed in response to a new administrator coming into a school community and watching a staff maneuver through meeting the standards of a new International Baccalaureate programme while defining how their practice would be personalized to meet them. Using the cycle of action research, this paper explored the question: How does the understanding of the past and purpose of a school site strengthen the development of a sustainable school vision? Data collected for this included parent, staff and administration questionnaires, archives of school meetings, activities and events and the appreciative inquiry process. By reviewing scholarly literature, analyzing the quantitative and qualitative data and reflecting on the written feedback from the participants, this study provided a means for developing a larger perspective on our school community. It facilitated the creation of a school vision that is not only based on the needs of the staff presently and of the new programme, but with the purpose of a primary site and the story of a school community over time. The data was clear from all parties that the school vision must include an active and ongoing commitment to community involvement, to educating the whole child through a balanced and innovative curriculum, to understanding the primary age group and maintaining traditions that incorporate celebration, interdependent relationships and trust. The written vision became the criteria when developing the programmes practice going forward.
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