Slice of Life, Weekly Challenge, Chapter 12

(This is part of a weekly feature called Slice of Life Project)

I was sitting at the table, in a meeting at the end of the school year and thinking: although I am no meeting lover, this group of people is really special. There were such smart, dedicated people in here and it made me glad (once again) to be part of an organization like the Western Massachusetts Writing Project. Our work as part of the National Writing Project is to connect with teachers and think of ways that best practices in the classroom around writing and learning can bubble up through the system to create positive change in schools.

At this particularly WMWP Executive Board meeting (where I sit as the technology liaison for our writing project), we were reaching a vote on a new mission statement. We have been on a year-long endeavor to craft a mission statement that reflects not only our core values but also our vision for the future of our organization. For the past two years, we have been working to view our writing project through the lens of social justice and equity, and now we are re-aligning much of our work in that direction. We’ve had to ask tough questions about what we are doing and why we are doing it, and we’ve had some interesting discussions on topics ranging from race to diversity to the role of our organization as a face of social change.

The vote for the new mission statement was unanimous. Here is our statement, which is a wonderful endorsement for the purpose and power of education in the fabric of life.

“The mission of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project, a local site of the National Writing Project, is to create a professional community where teachers and other educators feel welcomed to come together to deepen individual and collective experiences as writers and our understanding of teaching and learning in order to challenge and transform our practice. Our aim is to improve learning in our schools — urban, rural and suburban.

Professional development provided by the Western Massachusetts Writing Project values reflection and inquiry and is built on teacher knowledge, expertise and leadership.

Central to our mission is the development of programs and opportunities that are accessible and relevant to teachers, students and their families from diverse backgrounds, paying attention to issues of race, gender, language, class and culture and how these are linked to teaching and learning.”

Isn’t that a great missions statement? We worked to make it inviting to all teachers and educators and also for students and their families. Now, as one board member noted in our meeting, we have an obligation to follow through with this vision and work hard to become the force for change that we envision. We hope this mission statement is a guide for the future, and not some emblem of the past.

And I can’t resist another Wordle, using our mission statement as text:

Peace (in change),

  1. Great mission statement! In grad school, I did a lot of work with mission statements as part of my coursework in program management, and I have to say that this is short, sweet, to the point and above all, is clear and unmuddled. Good job! (Love the wordle, too– I’ve been thinking about what to compose my own wordle out of…)

  2. Love the mission statement, but what I really wanted to say is Thanks for continuing to Wordle!! This is what, your fourth one?, and you finally made me go and Wordle some of my own text!!! I did the notes I jot to parents and other lurkers on my school webpage. I might show this Wordle to my new group of parents at curriculum night this fall — it is a pretty accurate representation of my priorities! In a glance!

  3. Kevin, the joy of collaboration! I feel like I am the writing journey at my school alone and it is hard, especially when those scores come back from the state and we haven’t topped every school in the county. I so want to move to a writers workshop method and my administrator is not for this at all! I’ve got lots of work to do and your blog this morning encouraged me! Thanks.

  4. I love reading about your writing project. I’ personally like to know more about how this executive board works. Is it productive? Regular meetings? etc. Tell me more. Love the Mission Statement.
    Any thoughts about connecting our SI sites?

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