OPENING:

We’ve spent some time exploring who we are and how we identify or see or describe ourselves. And we’ve talked about how when individuals come together, they aren’t automatically a community. They might just be a group. They might just be people who happen to be in the same place, or connected by some random thing.

To become a community, they have to connect in a way that is meaningful, that allows them to pursue some higher purpose. Something they all see value in, and can contribute to, as they effort to achieve that goal.

As The Mountain House, our goal is to become a powerful learning community. So we need to figure out what that means. We’re moving away from ‘who am I?’, or even ‘who are we?’, and seeking a clear sense of ‘who do we want to be?’


In table groups, discuss the below questions and come up with as many different answers, as a group, as you can. But before you do, what could we do to make sure that our groups come up with a lot of ideas?

Tables 4:
What would our class look like if we were a powerful learning community? Describe, in as much detail as possible, what a person coming into our room would see.

Tables 5:
How would members of a powerful learning community behave? Be specific and fully explain the ways a member of such a community would act.

Tables 6:
Our beliefs impact the things we do and the ways we behave. So what kinds of things would q member of a powerful learning community have to believe in order to behave/act the way they need to behave/act?

Tables 3:
Our beliefs impact the things we do and the ways we behave. So what kinds of things would q member of a powerful learning community have to believe in order to behave/act the way they need to behave/act?

Tables 2:
How would members of a powerful learning community behave? Be specific and fully explain the ways a member of such a community would act.

Tables 1:
What would our class look like if we were a powerful learning community? Describe, in as much detail as possible, what a person coming into our room would see.

LESSON:

Okay, these ideas will now serve as a foundation for us as we create the Mountain House Mission Statement. What the heck is a mission statement?

A mission statement is simply a brief sentence that clearly explains an organization’s purpose. In some cases, a mission statement also identifies WHO it serves and WHERE it serves them.

Some example mission statements:
  • TED: Spreading Ideas.
  • The Humane Society: Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty.
  • National Wildlife Federation: Inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.
  • charity: water: Bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries.
  • National Parks Conservation Association: To protect and enhance America’s National Park System for present and future generations.
  • Nike: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.
  • Google: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
The Mountain House Mission Statement:

To come up with a Mission Statement for the Mountain House, we need to build on the ideas we discussed earlier, and really begin to answer some important questions. But we need to answer them from the posture of ‘WHAT IF”.

In other words, let’s not play it safe. Let’s be bold, let’s take risks, let’s create a mission that is worth living. A mission that might very well lead to failure after failure, but which, ultimately, brings us closer to work worth doing. You dig?

  • What is our purpose?
  • What are we willing to commit to?
  • How are we different?
  • Who do we seek to serve?
  • How do we want to grow?
  • Where do we do our work?
  • What is school for?
  • What story do we want to be able to tell?

We’ll discuss this as a class for a bit, but then we’re going to work in our table groups to craft a mission statement of our own. In this way, we’ll develop 6 mission statements for our class, and then we’ll go through a feedback protocol (I like, I wonder, I suggest) to get some ideas as to how we might make our mission statements even better.

Finally, once revisions are done, we’ll vote as a house on the one that best captures what we want our community – The Mountain House Community – to stand for.

Naturally, this will lead into other work related to our community identity, which we’ll get to soon.

“That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.
It is dearness only which gives everything its value.”

Thomas Paine