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Purpose and Principles

I’ve always been a big proponent of focusing on a strong school culture.  After reading a blog post by Simon Moran about two years ago and other articles and resources on the value of a strong culture based on shared values, such as this one from Harvard Business Review (HBR), we decided it was time to better solidify our culture by developing our own Purpose and five MY Principles. (We are also working on a Vision, that is still under development.)


The Purpose we developed is:

We grow success!


The five MY Principles we developed are:

  1. We start with questions.
  2. We assume positive intent.
  3. We are proactive and accountable.
  4. We are always learning.
  5. We do what’s best for MY.


In developing the above Purpose and Principles, our Leadership Team spoke to our staff and teachers to get their thoughts and then brought many different possibilities to our Leadership Team retreat. We then took those narrowed down possibilities back to our staff and teachers on one of our full day training days, where they first considered them individually before discussing them in several different small groups. Based on that feedback, the Leadership Team then narrowed it down to the Purpose and five Principles that we have now.


My next several blog posts will be about each one of them, talking about them in more detail in what they mean to us here at MY, but in the meantime the main challenge for us here is to be sure that they truly reflect and help guide what we do here at MY and don’t become meaningless management mumbo-jumbo. We encourage our students to ask questions and become critical thinkers and therefore also expect that of our teachers and staff, and many of them are rightly concerned that this might simply become a meaningless management exercise.


One thing we are working to do to address this concern is to highlight the process for the decisions we make referencing our Purpose and Principles and how they play a role in determining how we act, treat others, and make decisions. We also want to encourage others within MY to do the same.


We are just starting at this and it will be a long process, but it will be exciting to see how it develops. What’s the Purpose at your school and what Principles do you use as pillars in shaping your actions and decision-making process? Would be very interested in hearing the perspective of others.




Books/Articles I’m reading:

  • Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen –


  • The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson –

Ryan Hagglund
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