Reviewing Your Foundational Documents
Foundational documents are not static, “set in stone” things. They are best if they are dynamic and living. Integrating them into the daily life of the school is an important step in achieving this. Another step is to review them from time to time.
At a school leaders conference I attended recently one speaker proposed a thought-provoking question: “If your school closed down today, would it be missed? By who? Why?” This was a pertinent question for this school leader that day. During the night before, her school had been threatened by a bush-fire. God mercifully heard our prayers and the fire was brought under control before it did any damage to the school, but it was a close call. We need not wait for an impending disaster to review the reasons why God has called our Christian school into existence, and to commit ourselves anew to serving His kingdom in this way.
Here are a few thoughts on reviewing your foundational documents…
Measure your growth.
Are you steadily, step-by-step, moving towards your vision? Are your students meeting your expected student outcomes? How do you know? Find or develop some tools to assess your growth. This could include analyzing student achievement data, but you will want to find some ways to measure other aspects of growth too, such as Spiritual formation. Once you have some data, ask the hard questions. What does this data tell us about our school? What needs to be reviewed in light of this?
Share the data with your school community and invite their reflection on what it means. Ask them the question that the school leader I mentioned above asked. This may generate new ideas for up-dating your foundational documents and refreshing your approach to integrating them into the daily life of your school. Reflection from outside of the school community can be useful here too. Take the bold and humble step of inviting some trusted members from the wider community of Christian schools to visit your school, observe, interact and share their insights.
How have you approached the task of reviewing your foundational documents? Share your experiences and questions in the comments below.