PTO Mission Statement Workshop, Oct 5
Several years ago, a group of dedicated, caring and involved parents worked together with vision and passion to create the Friends of Northwest PTO mission statement:
Our mission is to support arts and academics at Northwest. Friends coordinates school-wide initiatives related to advocacy, fundraising, teacher appreciation, and community involvement.
Is it time to revisit and shape a new statement that more closely represents our current values and priorities? Would the process inspire, energize, and help us make decisions about how we want to go about achieving our vision day to day?
For guidance, we look to PTO Today, where they are "Helping Parent Leaders Make Schools Great".
“Harambe!” - In Swahili, it means “a coming together.” Far more than just a physical gathering, harambe is a coming together of spirit and mind while finding and standing on common ground to create synergy. True leaders facilitate harambe by helping groups articulate a vision for themselves that then provides focus for the group.
Developing a mission statement and crafting a vision is a process of discovering who we are as a group and why we have chosen to spend our collective energies as a PTO. As the word process implies, it doesn’t happen overnight. According to author Stephen Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, we detect rather than invent our organizational mission. It comes from within and is an expression of the values, hopes, and dreams of the group. Also implicit is the fact that each PTO’s mission statement will probably differ, even though they may share some basic interests, because each group is different and unique and ever evolving.
To be truly effective and reflective of the group, the process must be inclusive, involving as much of the membership as possible. It cannot be an executive committee activity that leaves out the majority of the membership. After all, people cannot be expected to own something they had no voice in creating. As businessman and author Max DePree states in his book Leadership Is an Art, “A belief that every person brings an offering to a group requires us to include as many people as possible. Including people, if we believe in the intrinsic value of their diversity, will be the only path open to us.” Harambe involves everyone!
The process begins by asking you to consider why you want to be a part of and involved in "Friends of Northwest" PTO. What do you hope for your children in this community? What do you want their Northwest experience to be like? Then, how do we see our parent group contributing to the achievement of our ideas about our children and Northwest? How can the parents and teachers work together to support and enrich all students toward those goals? And, ultimately how can the PTO support the NWSA staff while assisting in efforts to solve school needs through volunteering and funding while staying true to our mission?
This is the discovery phase. What ideas do we share, what are the commonalities? Are there a few key ideas that we can agree on? This phase can be accomplished with brainstorming and sharing with a goal of getting all ideas on the table.
This is not the time for detailed planning about how to get there. This is about the direction we will take on our journey. As the Cheshire cat pointed out to Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, it doesn’t much matter how you get there if you don’t know where you’re going.
Discovering and articulating our mission is important work. It can unify, motivate, and even inspire us. That’s the kind of “coming together” that harambe is all about. Focusing our attention can mobilize us to envision and actually accomplish what we set out to do.
We want to determine where we are going! Then it is much easier to figure out how to get there. Please join us for our Mission Statement Workshop. Refreshments provided - RSVP here.
Wednesday, October 5 • 6:00-7:00pm • NWSA Media Center