Do you know your school’s mission statement?
Businesses and schools usually have a mission statement. Can you recite yours?
It might sound like this:
“John Doe School District provides a place where students gain the tools to succeed. Through our individualized learning model, we are committed to preparing our students to be productive members of society and the world, equipped to become catalysts for dramatic improvements in our community and beyond.”
Ask a teacher, or better yet a student, what the mission is and you are bound to get a deer in the headlights look, or possibly a made-up answer that could be featured on Jimmy Kimmel’s street interviews.
“Uh, I’m sure it says something about education and success and making this world a better place!”
One school that I visited is different.
They have a one-word mission statement – ACHIEVE. Of course it stands for something, but alone the word gives a powerful direction on the beliefs of the school. Achieve stands for:
A cademic excellence
C ommunity connections
H ealthy supportive learning environments
I mplement researched-based initiatives that increase academic achievement for all
E xtra-curricular education
V alue character education
E xpect greatness in everything we do
Hayward Community School District is located in Northern Wisconsin. A little slice of heaven if you ask me! Four years ago, District Administrator Craig Olson came on board and wanted to ignite some major school spirit. He wanted everyone to get a great feeling when they walked in the doors.
He has done just that. Along with the mission statement “Achieve,” Olson has encouraged the addition of the tagline “Like a CANE” to all sorts of expressions. Inspired by the team name, the Hayward Hurricanes, it isn’t uncommon to hear something like golf like a cane, graduate like a cane, or ski like a cane. It is clear that students and teachers are in tune with the sense of school spirit.
And the message goes beyond the school walls. The community can order large signs to place outside their businesses with customized sayings. For example, Tremblay’s Sweet Shop sign reads, “Making Fudge Like a Cane” and a dentist has, “Brush & Floss Like a Cane.”
Beyond the signs, there is even more involvement out in the community.
Hayward Hurricane apparel is frequently sported on shirts, jackets, hats, and more. Internally the school has “Win the Day Wednesday” and the community has “Get Caught Friday.” If a person on the street is caught wearing Hurricane apparel, they would receive a free Dairy Queen Grill & Chill Cake as well as a coupon for a large free pizza from Coop’s Pizza Parloure!
It all started with a mission statement that was easy to remember – Achieve! I challenge your district to take the time to examine yours. You’ll be surprised what it can do for spreading spirit – Like a Cane!