RIM OF THE WORLD UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT – Examining and living their core values

Apr 20, 2023 | Local

By Mary-Justine Lanyon

A review of the Rim of the World Unified School District’s mission statement, vision and core values led to an interesting discussion at the school board’s March 30 meeting.

It was the core values that drew comments from the trustees.

Those core values are:

    • Collaboration: To work toward common goals through the sharing of our responsibilities, amongst expertise and all stakeholder groups.
    • Personal and Collective Accountability: To honor obligations and take ownership of our actions and results.
    • Integrity: To demonstrate honesty, trustworthiness and strong moral principles.
    • Equity: To ensure students and stakeholders receive fair treatment and that students have access to educational opportunities according to their unique needs.
    • Caring and Compassion: To treat others with empathy and genuine concern for their well-being and to display mutual respect and support of others.

“How well are these understood by all staff?” was the question from President Bill Mellinger.

“Core values are what happens inside the classrooms, on the playgrounds,” said Assistant Superintendent Shannon Hansen. “It’s what we expect out of staff, families and students.”

“I appreciate the fact that core values are not just for classrooms,” Mellinger said. “They have to be part of the whole system.”

“The missing piece,” said Trustee Cindy Gardner, “has been integrating core values into the classrooms and on the playground. We have not had a successful awareness program of what we stand for.”

So, Mellinger asked, “How have we communicated these values to our school community?”

Gardner said that, when they were first developed, they designed a one-pager, then site posters. “The superintendent at the time talked about mission and core values at community groups. As time passes and there’s a turnover, you don’t have stability of practices and procedures so things tend to go by the wayside as other things clamor for attention.

“How do we want to reengage these in conversations with schools and community?” Gardner asked. “Maybe instead of being embedded in the board of education on the website, they should be on the first page – boom, in your face. We could create leave-behinds, use them when we talk about our district – this is who we are, what we stand for.”

Gardner further suggested posting the core values in the superintendent’s newsletter and on the district’s Facebook page. The district could ask which core values residents saw in action during the winter storms.

“We may want the staff to grade us on how we’re doing with core values,” Mellinger said. “We have to live it inside before we take it outside.”

“We should be self-reflective as a board and as a district as a whole,” said Trustee Jordan Zarate. “Are we living these goals?”

“I agree with Cindy,” Trustee Scott Craft said. “We have to promote it, show it. Keep pushing out so the community sees these positive things are happening in the school.

“We have to think outside the box,” Craft said. “As we look at a bond to take care of necessities, we have to have examples of what happens every day in our schools.”

Saying she has been reading over the core values, Trustee Dana Ridland noted that she is “a huge believer in living your values. These are the district’s values. I would like feedback from the staff on students on if these reflect what our core values are as a district. Values should not change over time – they define who we are.”


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