It is the desire of every student to enroll in a school that provides him or her with the environment that offers them a chance to realize their full potential. That kind of environment encompasses a number of aspects ranging from the physical infrastructure, type of administration as well as the relationship between students and their fellow students or even the relationship between students and their teachers and the administration.
To begin with, my dream school should have well laid out objectives commonly referred to as vision, mission and goals. Whatever the context, if a school wants to make progress, it needs to develop an easy to understand and appropriate purpose. Developing a strong vision and mission statement can help the parties involved in one's school reach a common understanding. A vision is basically the school's goal or, put differently, where one hopes to see oneself in the future. The mission provides an overview of the measures put in place to achieve that goal in the future. Essentially, a vision should be easy to recall as opposed to a mission that is lengthier and more explanatory in nature. In the spirit of measuring the consistency of the school's vision, the school management may want to establish targets along the way to help it evaluate the progress toward its vision. According to Reynolds (1996), the effective educational leadership enables the school to come up with and approve visions that enhance the best teaching and learning. The school leadership motivates others to work towards achieving the goal as they are contained in the mission statement. My school must have a vision that is recognizable by all the members of the school fraternity as a common plan for growth, something that motivates them to be better. A clears vision has also the potential to communicate to the parents and students the direction, where the school is heading, and impresses upon them why they need to support the school in its endeavors. In the absence of a clear vision, the school lacks a direction. The ancient Roman philosopher, named Seneca, once said that "If a man does not know what harbor he seeks, any wind is right wind." A common understanding of the vision and mission of the school allows stakeholders to concentrate their improvement efforts on the common goal. The beauty of the whole thing is that it costs nothing to determine where anyone wants to go.
Certainly, it is not lost on me about the obstacles that may come in the way of drafting a clear vision, a situation, in which my school currently finds itself. One major obstacle is the people's fear of change. Drafting or changing the vision statement may be perceived by many, often times mistakenly, as the indicator of an eminent change. It is essential to have sought a consensus before, during and even after the drafting of the new vision. Giving an ear to as well as validating the staff member's thought will enable them put up with the change. This and many more obstacles can be avoided by creating a new and meaningful vision that brings on board the entire faculty. The effort and talent of the faculty are more likely to be realized, where there is a proper understanding of the common vision. According to Tesconi (1995), schools that have been successful in addressing and increasing the academic achievement of their students have gained from the clarity of purpose that are based on a common set of core values.
My second vision of my dream school is the existence of a clear link between the vision, mission and goals with the teaching and learning practices being implemented in the school. My school lacks this exceptionally crucial aspect, which partially explains why the performance has been wanting. As already noted, a vision or a mission statement should shepherd the process of the implementation of policy statements so that a school is able to achieve its objectives. What this means is that in the event that there exists a disconnection between the mission and implementation efforts, not much is likely to be achieved. A clear understanding of the school's mission on the side of teaching staffs enables them to guide students in their studies and in the final analysis; the vision of the school is realized.
The school environment has a strong impact on the students' behavior and, consequently, the health and the wellbeing of students. A school that provides a healthy environment, that is, a school that provides a proper school feeding program is my vision of a perfect school. Over and above this, numerous educational and related activities have a fundamental impact on the students' nutrition and physical activity behavior. Students' choices are determined by what is visible and accessible to them. Apparently, slight differences in the school environment can have far-reaching effects on what they eat. The feeding program available in the school can make a decisive difference in the students' behavior and health. Meals provided in school must meet a wide spectrum of food-based as well as nutrition-based standards to ensure that they contribute effectively to a proper diet. In the nutrition circles, there is a widely used parlance that ‘you are what you eat' and I wonder what could be truer. A recent national study of the content of school meals revealed a glaring insufficiency as far as meeting the nutritional needs of students is concerned. My school is not exceptional in this respect, and for this reason, a comprehensive overhaul of the feeding program is needed as a matter of urgency.
A school where proper planning mechanisms are in place is another vision of my perfect school. There is an English proverb, which says that ‘failing to plan is planning to fail.' Without a proper planning, it is absolutely hard to achieve the aspirations of any organization, however good the mission statement. An organization's planning process is controlled via a management instrument referred to as the policy statement. A policy statement outlines a blow by the blow explanation on how the organization's activities are to be coordinated as it seeks to achieve its objectives as envisioned in its mission statement. It is my considered opinion that my school rates poorly with regard to this. In most schools, the school management, which often comprises the school head and other board members, develops and executes the policy statement. They are involved in each and every step of the development, as well as the execution of policies as outlined in the policy statement. Therefore, they are responsible for successes as well as failures of the policy statements. A school committee develops policies and puts them in writing for the purpose of future references. They serve as the guide for actions of those, to whom it delegates the authority, in this case the school committee or school boards, whichever the case may be. The development as well as adoption of these policies constitutes the fundamental method, by which the school management exercises its leadership in ensuring the successful and efficient functioning of the school system (Daniels, 2009). By studying various reports on the implementation of policies, the school committee will exercise its control over activities of the school.
Furthermore, the school community comprises a population, which is constituted by people with differing needs because of their diverse characteristics. The characteristics of the school may be differentiated along physical and social status lines or even whether they constitute the minority or the majority of the population, a categorization, which may be dependent on their affiliations to various groups. A school that upholds the philosophy of the equal treatment to students regardless of their diversity is my dream. Unfortunately though, this is a rare occurrence. It is a common phenomenon for school policies to discriminate people in terms of their physical, social and in some cases religious statuses. With the increasing global integration, there is currently a considerable deal of diversity in classrooms. It is not unusual anymore for one to find the African students, for instance, in classrooms in the United States. Owing to this, teachers often have to contend with accommodating of diverse abilities as well as dealing with the diverse needs of students with differing ethnic backgrounds. Granted, dealing with diversities among students may be tasking at times, but the panacea lies in the integration of several teaching methodologies, which aid teachers in accommodating differences among students. These methodologies help teachers to present the information that is palatable to all students, irrespective of their personal backgrounds and needs.
Over the last couple of years, the world at large has experienced a phenomenal growth as far as technology is concerned. It is, therefore, natural for me or anybody else for that matter to envision a school that incorporates technology in its curriculum. I am pleased to note that my school has scored highly in this respect. The significance of incorporating technology in the curriculum cannot be overemphasized. For starters, integrating technology into classrooms improves the efficiency of the learning-teaching process. The effective technology integration in the curriculum encompasses the ways that deepen and enhance the learning process. Uniquely, it must strengthen four key components of learning, namely the active engagement, participation in groups, connection to real-world experts as well as frequent interaction and feedback. The effective technology incorporation is achieved, when the use of technology is a matter of routine and transparency, and when this technology supports curricular goals. Technology also alters the way teachers go about their business, providing educators with effective ways to reach various types of learners and evaluate the student's understanding through numerous means. It enhances the relationship between teachers and students, as well. Finally, technology makes learning and teaching more meaningful and fun.
By all accounts, whenever two or more people congregate, differences are likely to arise. My dream school is that, which provides an environment that is devoid of the harassment and bullying among students. Any school management must ensure that structures, which prevent things like bullying, are in place. In order to address these anti-social problems within the student body, schools have what is commonly known as the Bullying Prevention Plan. Essentially, this is a framework that sets out the standards of what constitute bullying as well as punishments to be exercised upon those, who bully their schoolmates. Thankfully, to a substantially large extent this has actually been provided in my school.
Another aspect of an ideal school, in my view, is that, where the interest of stakeholders are well taken care of, more so teachers. One will perhaps concur with me that a de-motivated workforce in any organization may not deliver good results, and teachers are no exception. The motivation or lack thereof of teachers centers on the terms and conditions and the employment as a well as how the management responds to their issues as and when they arise. The school management, which for whatever reason maintains a draconian relationship do so at the detriment of students, who are in most cases on the receiving end, whenever the teachers interests are not well taken care of. In order to ensure that students benefit from teachers to a considerable degree, the management must create and maintain an environment that is friendly to teachers for the benefits of students.
"The way to hell is paved with good intentions," so goes the saying. It is insufficient for there to be good intentions; they must be supported by actions that seek to actualize these intentions. What I mean is that policies that are existent only on papers are as good as useless. To ensure that they yield the intended results, they must be implemented in their entirety. In order to ensure that policies are fully implemented, monitoring and evaluations structures must be present (Good & Braden, 2000). This enables the executing agency to tell when activities of the school run out of sync with the mission statement and enables them to take corrective steps towards restoring the process on the right course. Having looked at the aspects of the school that I envision, I now intend to shift my focus to a typical policy that may assist my school in achieving its vision.
As already noted, a policy is essentially a governing document, by which any institution is run, in this case a school. Taking into consideration the view of my classmates, it is their major concern that a policy is in place to guide the equal treatment to all students regardless of their physical, social and perhaps religious diversity. A policy of this nature is crucial in terms of engendering harmony among students. ‘Unity is strength' and harmonious relationship among students is essential for the school to improve and, consequently, contribute towards the improvement of the students' learning.
This policy can be developed by drawing up a policy guideline that defines the way teachers and management treats all the students without discrimination of any nature. To ensure a full implementation, control and evaluation structures should be put in place so that objectives of the policy are fully realized. This evaluation mechanism should provide for the way, through which the successes or failures of the policy can be measured. In this 21st century, as noted earlier, the world has become a global village, enabling people to cross over to as far as abroad in pursuit of education. For this reason, the impartial treatment of students, regardless of their background, will ensure that the population grows. This is because students get attracted to any school if they feel that they are not going to be discriminated against. Needless to say, the policy will go a long way is fostering the unity among students, thereby, providing an environment, where the school's full potential can be realized. This way, the school will be improved to a considerable degree.