The Atlanta Public School Board of Education Board Development Committee, which is chaired by Nancy Meister, met yesterday and drafted a preliminary Mission and Vision for the APS district. The discussion on both items was extensive and very thorough as each statement will drive numerous decisions in the future. Each statement is still in draft form and subject to further editing and, as of yesterday, the following statements were selected:
The mission statement is a short and succinct statement of the districts primary job. The prior mission statement was:
The mission of Atlanta Public Schools is to educate all students through academic excellence, preparing them for success in life, service and leadership.
This statement was revised and the new draft mission statement is:
Through a caring culture of trust and collaboration, every student will be ready for college and career.
The discussion on the revision was extensive and Board members and the Superintendent wanted a statement that was fully inclusive of all students and represented a clear direction that would guide the employees of the district on a daily basis. The focus of the statement is a combination of caring for students while getting them ready for the next stage in their lives. Another key component of the new mission statement is that it is measurable and is focused on the time that students are in the care of the district. This is in contrast to the prior statement as “success in life, service and leadership” could not be easily measured at the time students completed their educations in the district.
The vision is simply a statement of what the district is trying to achieve. The prior vision statement was:
The vision of Atlanta Public Schools is to be a student-centered, high-performing urban school district where all students become successful life-long learners and leaders.
The vision statement was also revised to the following:
A high-performing school district where students love to learn, educators work to inspire, parents are engaged and the community has trust in the district.
Again, the discussion on the revisions was extensive. Board members immediately dropped the word “urban” as the term placed the district in a category that might place limits on performance. Additionally, the vision now includes all the critical constituencies – student, educators, parents and the community.
The Board was extremely thoughtful in their deliberations and clearly wanted to develop clear and strong statements of purpose and outcomes. I think they were very successful in doing just that. Expect to hear both of these communicated to the public on a very regular basis and then be used as justification for making tough decisions as the Board and the Superintendent move forward with transforming the Atlanta Public Schools.