EKES Mission and Through-Lines Statement
Learning Empowers All People...We all likely share the understanding that what we value, both individually and as a community, is demonstrated through our actions and behaviors. We also realize that every day we are challenged to maintain this delicate balance: sustaining a sense of who we are as a school community and promoting common principles of good practice, while respecting the different perspectives and approaches that each individual brings to the process.
For these reasons, our day-to-day practice is perhaps best served, not by grand statements that push us all to act the same, but by basic points of reference that keep us connected to our core values. A helpful concept that we might adapt for our use is "through-lines," originally developed by Project Zero at Harvard. For our purposes, we can think of through-lines as simple, fundamental questions that help to connect what we value with what we do. Through-lines promote habits of mind that thread their way through our everyday practice; they help us to remain consistent with our core beliefs.
Our work together has affirmed the especially strong core value that, as a school community, we strive to make decisions based on what is in the best interest of our students. The connective through-lines we can use to promote this habit of mind are contained in the following four questions. When we make a decision, interact with a child, respond to a colleague, plan an activity, or set up a schedule, we ask ourselves:
How does this affect the learning potential of each child?
How will this affect the growth and development of each child?
How does this acknowledge and honor the individuality of each child?
How does this show that I am being responsive to the words and actions of those around me?
These questions reflect a core value at the same time that they are sensitive to individual differences, that is, they do not mandate that we all look exactly the same, say exactly the same things, or teach in exactly the same way. But they do require a shared commitment to do the following:
- maintain a safe, caring, and supportive environment in which everyone is freely able to share feelings, information, practices, and disagreements
- support common principles of good practice at all levels
- engage in ongoing dialogue about our practice
- maintain respect for what each individual brings to the process
- learn from what's been done before us