What Should Be Static at Your Parochial School?

In a constantly changing world, should anything be static?

Two things should be static: your mission and your strategy. It is important to remember that the mission is different from the mission statement. The mission statement is an expression of the mission in words that the average person is likely to understand.

The mission statement should be revisited every 2 or 3 years to ensure the wording remains relevant to the public. However, it is rare that a Christian school actually needs to change its mission.

Your strategy is the driving force behind your strategic plan. The strategy tells the world what actions the school will take to fulfill its mission. The strategic plan translates the strategy into activities and goals, and defines the reach of the mission (vision). The strategy is unlikely to change very often but the strategic plan is likely to change every 3 – 5 years.

A faith-based school 25 years ago might have seen their mission as preparing children to live successful lives. The mission statement might have been, “to provide the education and faith development for success”. Their strategy might have been, “to teach religion and provide a traditional classroom education”.

Today, we expect schools to do more than just meet the immediate academic needs of their students. We expect schools to equip students to live in a complex and rapidly changing world.

Today, that same school might have a mission statement that expresses the mission this way, “to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and strength of character to thrive in a complex society”. The strategy might be expressed as, “to empower students to be life-long learners whose faith provides resilience, character, and guidance”. It is contemporary wording for the same strategy.

It is easy to imagine that the strategy has remained unchanged for the last 10 years. However, 10 years ago the activities defined in the strategic plan might have been listening to lectures. Today the ‘activities’ in the strategic plan might be reading websites and viewing YouTube videos. Even though the strategy remained constant, the strategic plan obviously changed.

Today the school is still preparing children to live successful lives (the mission). The way it expresses its mission (mission statement) and the actions it takes to fulfill the mission (strategy plan) changed.

Next Step:

Revisit your mission statement and determine if it sounds relevant to your community

Revisit your strategy and determine if it provides sufficient value to attract the support of your community

Share your revised mission statement and strategy with your donors

Engage your donors and community members in the process of revising your strategic plan

Revising a strategic plan is relatively inexpensive and quick. Implementing a strategic plan is expensive and time consuming. Engaging your donors and community members in the process creates a sense of ownership that leads to long-term support for the strategic plan.

Repeating this exercise every 2 – 3 years with the help of donors and community members will keep your school relevant and highly sustainable.

Revisiting your mission statement and strategy this month has the potential to increase enrollment and student retention in the spring. Reviewing the mission statement and strategy will also increase your school’s relevance in the eyes of your current and prospective families.


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