Creating Your Foundational Documents
Foundational documents are an important tool for your school’s development, so creating them needs to be done with care. Here are three related ideas to help you work through the process…
If your foundational documents are created by an individual or small group of people in a vacuum that is where they are likely to stay. While leadership is necessary in the process, input from the wider school community regarding their desires and experience will create a richer and more meaningful set of documents.
Collaboration can be a challenge, and it takes time, but it does not need to be complicated. A survey of staff, parents and students could be used to collect information from across the community, which can then be mined for common themes and stand-out ideas. Focus group interviews with representatives of these groups within the community could explore some of the ideas in more detail. Draft documents can be made available for comments and suggestions before a final version is adopted.
It is likely that you will want to create more than one type of document to define and clearly communicate your school’s foundations. But these different documents need to be coherent, to compliment and enrich each other, if they are going to be useful. Each type of document adds something important to the picture, but they need to be creating a unified whole. This is where leadership can play a significant role, crafting the input from multiple sources together into something meaningful and inspiring.
Collaboration and coherence can create a sense of ownership of the foundational documents… and ownership encourages commitment. The foundational documents will only become a useful tool to guide the development of your school if there is a high level of “buy-in” from the community. So it is worth considering how the process you use to develop your foundational documents could foster this.
What has your experience of creating foundational documents been like? Please share your insights in the comments below so that others can benefit from them.