Getting Started Designing Purpose-Driven Schools

Imagine designing your school, your leadership, your learning, and your life, grounded in purpose.


Welcome to the designing purpose-driven schools blog!

Get ready to invite in ideas, inspiration, and insight focused on purpose-driven learning, purpose-driven leading, and purpose-driven living. Together, we’ll dive deep into designing and leading purpose-driven schools.

What, you may ask, is a purpose-driven school?

Well . . . my dear colleague . . . that’s a question for you to answer in a way that lights you up and brings you meaning.

What a purpose-driven school is NOT is standardized. It’s uniquely, magnificently, powerfully itself.

Ready to get started?!

It all begins with V-I-P™: Vision - Implementation - Purpose.

V-I-P™ is by no means a linear process. Think of it like this:



Vision:

Imagine! Literally . . . envision.

Think about your school . . . and about your life . . . at some future date.


  • What are you seeing? Hearing? Smelling? Even touching and tasting? Immerse yourself in envisioning with all your senses.

  • How do you feel? What energy are you bringing with you throughout your day? Engage emotionally in your envisioning.

  • What are you doing? See yourself engaging in actions that bring you joy and meaning.

  • What impact are you making? Recognize the effects of your actions for yourself and for others.

  • What are your finances like? What resources do you have? Imagine what you have with appreciation and gratitude.

  • How are you facing adversity? In preparing for the challenges that inevitably arise, you’ll respond with the qualities of character you choose to embody.

  • How are you taking care of yourself? This process involves inner work as well as external striving. Taking care of yourself, in the ways you choose, is core.


Vision in the V-I-P™ model is NOT your standard vision statement. It can’t be posted on your website or framed and hung on the wall. Like life itself, vision in the purpose-driven V-I-P™ model is constantly adapting and evolving with you and for you.

Now . . . if you love your vision, mission, core value statements, and strategic plans . . . . don’t fret. Keep them! V-I-P™ can supplement inspiring and impactful vision, mission, core value statements, and strategic plans. Or, you can exclusively embrace V-I-P™, ditching old school vision, mission, core value statements, and strategic plans that no longer work for you . . . or that never did. It’s up to you! You’ve got options!

Get playful with your envisioning!

Shift your timelines, envisioning your school and your self at:

  • Some distant, unspecified date

  • A year from now

  • A quarter from now

  • A month from now

  • A week from now

  • Later today


Truly . . . you can use this process every morning - envisioning the day ahead.

You’ll gain so much clarity on your next steps and priorities, while remaining inspired by your larger, grander vision for your school, your learning, your leadership, and the life you’re designing.

Implementation

Live your vision!

Go through your day and live the priorities you’ve envisioned. When you do . . . you’ll find magic happening. Not only will your vision unfold in your life. As you’re truly present, living into your vision, you’ll notice realities in your implementation that are even better than your vision: blessings and joys both small and large. Allow implementation and vision to engage in a dance, deepening and expanding each other.

Implementation will adapt and expand as you make progress toward projects and goals, and as your priorities shift and evolve.

Purpose

The dance between vision and implementation becomes immeasurably more impactful as we gain clarity on our purpose.

Sometimes you discover your purpose, and other times your purpose discovers you.

What do I mean by purpose?

Purpose is what at core matters most to you - as an educator and as a person. When you truly discover your purpose, or when your purpose discovers you, you’ll be able to articulate it in just a few words . . . often even in just one word.

To start . . . ask yourself a question.

If you could contribute to solving one significant problem in the world, what would it be?

Don’t worry if your skill set does not seem immediately relevant to the problem most compelling to you. There are many angles from which to tackle problems.

I’ll share one of my favorite examples . . . Maria Montessori as a champion of peace.

Living in Europe through two World Wars it’s evident why . . . of all possible purposes . . . peace would have discovered Maria Montessori. It’s what many understandably would have identified as what the world needed most in the time, and place, in which she lived. And, although Montessori was not the leader of a nation, or the head of an influential nonprofit focused on humanitarian peace efforts, her leadership in peace was so impactful that she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize! That’s the power of purpose!

For Maria Montessori, world peace began in early childhood classrooms. And you too can promote, cultivate, and fight for what matters most to you.

My own purpose discovered me . . . in the later days of leading through pandemic. In a world of increasing physical and mental illness threatening the well-being of so many people, and climate change threatening the very well-being of our planet, I came to a realization. The mindset and skill set to find one’s way to well-being, regardless of the challenge and adversity we encounter, is the path to a well-lived life. And so . . . I’ve been designing my school and my life with an emphasis on well-being, including physical well-being, social/emotional well-being, intellectual well-being, financial well-being, creative well-being, spiritual well-being . . . and more.

And, in addition to designing my own purpose-driven school, I’ve embraced designing purpose-driven schools more broadly as the next vital chapter for education. And, so I’ve stepped into supporting other educators to design their own purpose-driven schools. You see, from the earliest days of the pandemic, as education changed literally overnight, I wondered. If we could change so quickly because we had to . . . what would be possible because we choose it?

Now I wonder . . . what’s possible if many of us embrace purpose-driven schools?!





Categories: : educational vision, Montessori, Purpose-driven