Many schools, along with their mission and vision statements, have a set of core values. It is vital that if a school decides to have core values, they become embedded in what the school does. More often than not, these core values refer to the behaviours or personal attributes that an organisation wishes its members to embrace and grow into, if not already developed.
Core values should be referred to in policy and guideline documents, as well as being part of the common language spoken by teachers and leaders in the school. Furthermore, core values should be used to drive decision-making processes.
In fact, when core values become the part of a decision-making conversation, it helps all stakeholders connect with what the school requires of its members. By identifying with what the school expects of its members, it can allow for individual differences, which can often get personal, to be put aside. This enables greater focus on the matter(s) at hand and reasoning for any decision to be guided by these values.
Core values are great things to have but they can be difficult to abide by, as they are so often a set of principles from which we are expected to conduct ourselves. We know, the toughest thing about principles is upholding them. That should not, however, prevent us from using our school’s core values as our decision-making compass.