School communities share a set of values, beliefs, and attitudes that contribute to creating a culture for growth, creativity, and accelerated learning. As schools develop, the following values emerge, guiding the actions and interactions of people in the community:
EQUITY. All students can learn and have an equal right to a high quality education. Is our school the kind of school that we would want for our children?
PARTICIPATION. Everyone participates in the transformation process—students, parents, and certified and classified staff. Everyone’s ideas count. Students participate in learning and decision making; teachers, support staff, parents, administrators, community members, and district office representatives participate in decision making and the creation of powerful learning experiences.
COMMUNICATION and COLLABORATION. All members of the school community work together and share ideas. Children engage in active and group learning. Their thoughts, feeling, and interest are considered important, and students are given the opportunity to express and communicate these thoughts to their community. The entire school community collaboratively works toward a shared purpose by meeting with, talking with, and learning from each others experiences.
COMMUNITY SPIRIT. School staff, parents, students, district office representatives, and the local community are all part of the school community. When they succeed, they do so together, because they’ve built strong connections with each other–all in the service of children.
REFLECTION. In transform a school, we need time to reflect, to do research, to work together, to share ideas. Children engage in problem-solving exercises that develop over time and require an interpretive approach to curricula. The entire school community constantly scrutinize the world of the school and address challenges to school improvement.
EXPERIMENTATION and DISCOVERY. When members of a school community decide that what they are presently doing is not effective (either for themselves or for the children or both), they change. In changing, we have to take some risks and try some experiments, but they are informed risks and informed experiments. All staff, parents, and students explore. design, and implement experimental programs after communicating about and reflecting on the school’s challenges and participating in discovery exercises.
TRUST. Trust is essential. Teachers, parents, support staff, administrators, district office representatives, community members, and students come to believe in each other, support one another, and focus on each other’s straights.
RISK TAKING. All parties are encouraged to be entrepreneurial in their efforts. While some new programs may fail, the ones that succeed are the keys to lasting school improvement.
SCHOOL as CENTER of EXPERTISE. The members of the school community recognize that they possess the vision and the talent they need to make their dreams a reality. The school is a professional community with the expertise to create the best programs for its children, staff, and parents. As a school uses the accelerated school process, the community itself decides how to do research and when to hire consultants.