“What does it mean to have an American education? What does it mean to provide a global perspective?”
— Mrs. Robyn Appleby, head of school
A change to ASL’s mission statement could be on the horizon, as a new mission statement could be expected in May this year. The Mission Review Team is designated to work on better reflecting ASL’s objectives through the mission statement. The team is made up of 13 members, including teachers, students, parents, staff members, school leaders, and board members.
Every 7-10 years, schools who have a mission statement undergo the process of reviewing their statement to ensure that it is current, relevant, and continues to reflect the beliefs and goals of the community. ASL last reviewed their statement 11 years ago, so upon her arrival last year, Head of School Mrs. Robin Appleby decided that it was fitting to re-evaluate the mission statement and that perhaps it was time it underwent a change.
With last year’s theme of the year being ‘Telling your story,’ it dawned on Mrs. Appleby that change was necessary. The idea was proposed to the Board of Trustees by Mrs. Appleby, who had the immediate interest and support of the board. The idea to review the mission statement was proposed because it was questionable if the current statement clearly and authentically reflected the community and ASL’s goals. Nevertheless, it is very possible that the revision process results in the existing mission statement staying the same, as the aim of the process is to ensure that the community agrees with the mission statement.
Mrs. Appleby said, “While people appreciated a lot about the mission statement…there were some gaps in their understanding of what parts of our mission statement mean. What does it mean to have an American education? What does it mean to provide a global perspective?”
Presently, Mrs. Appleby and the Board are at the stage of analyzing the data they received from a survey which was taken by middle school and high school students in the fall, as well as some parents. This information will provide them with a clear picture of the community’s perspective on the school and mission statement, which will aid in the process of deciding what specifically should be changed about the mission statement.
The plan is for there to be several drafts of the possible mission statements by the end of February which will be drafted by ASL’s consultants, Greenwich Leadership Team, as well as the Mission Review Team. The process will involve testing possible mission statements through focus groups. This stage of the process aims to provide the Board with feedback about how the community feels about the possible new mission statements. The Board of Trustees will make the final decision as to the changes made to the mission statement, and if they decide in favor of changing the mission statement, the final draft is expected to be completed by May.
The Board and Mrs. Appleby have also been considering the relationship between ASL’s diversity statement and mission statement.
Mrs. Appleby and the Board have been delving into learning about the community’s views on the diversity statement and whether that too, accurately depicts our community. They are discussing the possibilities of aligning the mission statement and the diversity statement.
Mrs. Appleby expressed her excitement in tackling the changing mission statement. She said, “[There have been] no negative challenges. I think that it is an interesting challenge to try to understand the complexity of what it means to provide an American education. Is that talking about the teaching and learning style? Is that talking about the curriculum, the content? Or when people say that we are an American school, are they talking about the culture of the school? So, we are trying to unpick what that means, so that we can help to define that better for the future.”
Current Mission Statement:
Our mission is to develop the intellect and character of each student by creating an outstanding American education with a global perspective.
Current Diversity Statement:
Diversity is central to the ASL experience. We believe diversity promotes a vibrant learning process and fosters a positive school climate to prepare students to thrive in a diverse world. Our commitment to diversity influences what and how we teach as well as the composition of our school community. At the American School in London, our definition of diversity encompasses ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic level, sexual orientation, nationality, physical ability, family structure, and religion. We extend our definition to include differences in identity, life experiences, backgrounds, beliefs and ideas.