Monday, June 2, 2014

Inaugural Post: Generating a Mission Statement

Vision Statement...
As we launch our summer of preparations for our program's first year, Mr. Bloom and I thought our first order of business should be to create a mission and vision statement for the Social Justice Pathway.  The idea is to articulate clearly where we're going, why we exist, and what principles guide our decisions on our journey.  Cursory research tells us that vision statements should be comprehensive, but concise and catchy enough that everyone in our organization can easily explain it and remember it.

What is a Vision Statement?  Vision statements "Function as the "north star"--it is what all [students] understand their work every day ultimately contributes towards accomplishing over the long term."(1) 
Without further ado, the Social Justice Pathway's north star:

Developing students who assess, adapt, and act
in order to make the world a better place.

Etymology tells us that to "develop" means to "unfold", to "unroll", and "to bring out latent possibilities".  Latent possibility is potential already within the student; service-based learning gives students the chance to use and hone their unique abilities to make a difference.  

Social Justice Pathway is all about the As....Assess--Adapt--Act

Assess: the phase in which students use their critical thinking skills to identify the nature of the problem before them and create initial plans.  Adapt:  students use resources (personal, academic, social, etc.) and reflections to alter plans as needed in real-time or in preparation for the next task.  Act:  students execute their plans.  Less an order of operations than a series of guiding practices, Assess--Adapt--Act is already present in a student's academic life.  Consider the writing process for instance; students must ASSESS the prompt, drawing up an initial plan for completion in the form of a brainstorm and outline.  Any draft must be ADAPTed in the revising or editing stage, and drafting (rough or final) demands ACTion.  This balance of preparation, action, and reflection hones skills of metacognition while simultaneously ensuring students grasp the content and skills required by the Common Core.

--Erin Angell

Sneak Peek at the next blog post...

Mission Statement:
The Social Justice Pathway is a three-year program featuring self-direction and project-based learning in an interdisciplinary model rooted in community action and collaboration.  This program is for students interested in empowerment, conviction and the passion to build a better world.  It's an opportunity for authentic education and experiential learning beyond the high school walls.

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