Live the Mission

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One of my favorite stories about living the mission is the one about John F. Kennedy’s visit to NASA a year or so after he announced that we would be going to the moon by the end of the 1960s.

The story goes that as he was touring the facility meeting the engineers and executives, he happened upon a custodian who was cleaning one of the hallways.

Kennedy walked up to him, extended his hand, introduced himself and asked the man, “So what do you do here?”

Without a hesitation, the man looked at the president and said, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”

No question that “putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade” is about as clear a mission that you can have. Honestly, most mission statements in schools are not nearly as succinct or to the point.

But just having a clear mission isn’t enough; that mission must drive the work in every part of the school down to the support staff, maintenance crew, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers.

Creating profound learning environments and experiences for kids means making sure everyone not only knows the mission but understands their role in achieving it.

So, if you’re a school leader, ask the people in your building, “What do you do here?”

See what they say.

See if they’re living the mission, or just reciting it.

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