Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Six Edentity Questions

A school with a clear identity is one that people are drawn to, parents and professionals.  They desire to be apart and contribute to the amazing things happening .  A campus identity is instructional and curricular, of course, but we know that education is more than those alone and a successful school has some additional "intangibles' that set it apart from others.  I'm not talking about being different to be different or to put on a show, but special for kids' sake! How we choose to develop and refine that identity is important in how we relate to our community and how they relate to us.  Asking some key questions is important this process!

What are we passionate about? - Is there something as a campus that is an area of strength because of passionate pursuit of practice?  Do you have gurus on the campus (literacy, math, technology, etc.)
that have proselytized others to their cause and has become something that the campus has grabbed a
hold of?  It would be great to have this be an instructional focus, but passions, as @burgessdave would tell us, can be integrated throughout any experience!  The more organic the better!
People are drawn in and love to be around those who are passionate about their lives.
Burgess, Dave (2012-10-22). Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator (Kindle Locations 293-294). Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.. Kindle Edition. 
What causes are we connected to?  - Service and awareness should be a regular part of what we do as schools in whatever form or fashion we can integrate.  This should certainly be an areas where we help students understand that they should be contributors as much as (if not more) as consumers of learning!

What does our community value? - This may be a prerequisite question in order to figure out how to answer a number of these other questions.  Knowing where and how the community stands as a whole will allow a better design of experiences Jamie Vollmer says:
You cannot touch a school without touching the culture of the surrounding town.
Vollmer, Jamie (2010-07-14). Schools Cannot Do It Alone (p. 98). Enlightenment Press. Kindle Edition. 
How are we connected to the community? - In what ways are you in relationship with the community that we serve?  Businesses, churches and individuals are looking for and benefit from the connections for the very same reasons we do!

What makes us unique? - Schools can very easily become a "dime a donzen".  Traditions and school experiences should differentiate us from others.  Are there events, learning experiences or specific language or values that set us apart from the rest of the pack?

What are we struggling with or  have we struggled with and overcome?  - Here is a great way to think about this:
Your greatest ministry will come from your deepest pain. - Rick Warren
Never waste a hurt or a struggle!  It can be a defining experience that will allow staff and community to draw closer together!

Answers to these questions should be rallying points as well as areas and ways that we are bringing our community together  They should help them to connect to one another and our school, as well as, giving them yet another reason, along with the way we love on their kids, to belong to our school.

What other questions would you ask  or are you asking in order to develop and refine your campus identity?

Happy refining!


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