A school's vision is its dream that should become reality.
Generally, every school has a vision statement. The problem is that the vision statement is exactly that; a well-written document only. Sadly, in many cases, the SMT and the teachers themselves do not know the vision of the school. Why would schools disregard their own dream for their organization? What then, is a vision?
What is a vision.
A vision is what gives an organization purpose. A vision statement captures what your school wants to be and where the school sees itself in the future. Your core values will be the foundation on which your vision is built. Your vision is your BIG dream, the destination that you want to reach. Your vision is there to guide you and to inspire you to work towards the future that you see for all the learners at the school.
Think of President Nelson Mandela's closing lines of his speech in 1964:
"I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have carried the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunity. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."
Clearly, we can see what Mandela's dream was for South Africa: a free democracy for all its people.
A vision should be specific, compelling statement. What are your ideals as a school? What are your core values? Your vision should be enduring. It is your compass, pointing you to your destination. A vision does not change. The path that you are following or your objectives may change depending on the circumstances, but your vision will be an ever fixed star that should keep you focused.
Example of a school's vision statement
I found Marine Primary school's vision on their website. Here is their vision:
" Our school wants to provide a happy and caring environment where learners are able to develop to their full potential."
This is a powerful, enduring vision statement. We can see their dream of happy, loved learners who will receive quality education that will make each of them excel. Is this not magic for the entire school community - the learners and their families, the staff at the school and the broader community?
Imagine everybody at Marine Primary has agreed to this vision for their school and everybody strives to make their dream a reality. Imagine the inherent power that such a compelling vision statement has to guide and inspire each and every person. If this is the case, we can say that this school has a shared vision. It would mean that the vision statement breathes life and has transcended the academic exercise of a 'nice to have' feature at the school.
A vision galvanizes the organization.
If you have to embark on this process of aligning yourself with the vision again, be prepared to invest time and energy.
When you revive your school's vision and get the whole school community on board, you will see how the energies will start flowing through the school.
Enjoy the journey.