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Building Shared Beliefs Through Visual Representations of Our Mission and Vision

By Kelly Kramer, Secondary School Principal

Colegio Internacional de Caracas


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Energy was high; the enthusiasm was palpable. Teachers gathered in the school’s library at Colegio Internacional de Caracas after six weeks of travel, summer professional development, or just enjoying the change of pace from the previous school year’s hectic and some would say harried events in Venezuela. While new and returning teachers mingled and nattered, the theme song from Mission Impossible hummed in the background.

People soon began to take notice of the tune. Was Tom Cruise ready to drop silently from the ceiling to carry out a stealthy operation? No, but the CIC staff were about to, should they choose to accept (which luckily they did!), a CIC mission—a Mission: POSSIBLE. As part of orientation week, staff engaged in a professional development activity entitled, Mission: Possible. The focus of their collaborative task was to create a visual representation of either the school’s mission or vision statements.


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Hallinger and Heck (2002) assert that “a mission is first and foremost a symbolic expression of the organization’s values and purpose” (p.9). Hallinger and Heck (2002) also contend that, “where a mission exists, staff will take greater responsibility for managing their own behavior and making decisions consistent with common norms” (p.10). Using Sergiovanni’s (1990) idea of shared vision, a group shares a set of values and commitment that bond them together in a common cause in order to meet a common goal. Nanus (1992) eloquently stated that “a vision is little more than an empty dream until it is widely shared and accepted” (p. 134).


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CIC teachers spent the morning bringing the dream to life through visual representations. Some groups found pictures of CIC students demonstrating the school’s mission or vision. Other groups found video clips and songs to symbolize our school’s dedication to being a learning community. Each of the seven presentations was as different as the personalities that worked together to produce them. The strands that tightly united the presentations were easily identifiable—the school’s mission and vision statements. Even though Tom Cruise did not make an appearance that day, the groups made their missions possible! References


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Hallinger, P., & Heck, R. H. (2002). What do you call people with visions? The role of vision, mission and goals in school leadership and improvement. In Second international handbook of educational leadership and administration(pp. 9-40). Springer Netherlands. Nanus, B. (1992). Visionary leadership: Creating a compelling sense of direction for your organization. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Sergiovanni, T.J. (1990). Adding value to leadership gets extraordinary results. Educational Leadership, 47(8), 23-27.

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