books, tech, lessons from a librarian

Vision and Mission Statement: Intro

I’ve tried my darnedest for the past several months to separate my work vision from my personal life vision, but I’ve found little success in my efforts.  Then recently I had a realization…  As a wise maritime philosopher once said: “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.”  In the first chapter of Courage to Teach, Parker Palmer writes about this idea: “Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.” (Palmer, 2007, p. 10)  I am a librarian and a teacher.  I am a geek and a nerd.  I am a husband and a father.  And in all of those roles, I find myself guided by three core principles.  My upcoming posts will focus on how these three principles manifest themselves in my work as a teacher-librarian: (1) to create… a culture of learning and exploration; opportunities to exercise our unique abilities and skills (2) to collaborate… with parents and staff to educate our kids and ourselves towards the goals of developing a strong sense of purpose and citizenship; and (3) to celebrate… by finding joy in literacy, laughter, learning, and life’s fleeting moments.    

This is the first of a series of posts that will dive into my Personal Vision & Mission Statement to make deeper connections to my teaching and learning and to explore how technology is integrated throughout.  As you read through each of the posts, you may be surprised by the absence of “technology” from much of the discussion, especially as this project is focused on digital learning.  The final blog post in this series will talk more specifically about how technology fits into each of the areas.

Vision and Mission Statement summary

Personal Vision & Mission Statement posts

Part 1 — Intro

Part 2 — Create

Part 3 — Collaborate

Part 4 — Celebrate

Part 5 — Technology & Balance

The three prongs of my mission statement (Creativity, Collaboration, and Celebration) have been forged from a combination of my 14 years of teaching and library experience combined with my 10 years as a parent as well as my experiences as a student, both in the past and present.  They are based on recognized research models about quality schools and best educational practices.  These best practices bridge academic performance gaps: socio-economic, student achievement, gender, ELL and native speakers alike.  


[1] The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) have studied Chicago Public Schools for over fifteen years and have identified five elements of education, or the “Five Essentials”, that are indicators of quality schools.  The Five Essentials are (1) effective leaders, (2) collaborative teachers, (3) involved families, (4) supportive environment, and (5) ambitious instruction.  CCSR researchers “found that schools strong on at least three of the Five Essentials are 10 times more likely to improve in math and reading”  (University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, 2015).    

[2] Charlotte Danielson’s Instructional Framework is the evaluative model framework utilized in my district and it defines model teaching practices.  Specifically: “Criterion 1: Centering instruction on high expectations for student achievement. Criterion 5: Fostering and managing a safe, positive learning environment.  Criterion 7: Communicating and collaborating with parents and the school community.  Criterion 8: Exhibiting collaborative and collegial practices focused on improving instructional practice and student learning.” (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2015)

[3] The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has established standards for those serving in the role of an instructional coach.  (1) Visionary leadership, (2) Teaching, learning, and assessments, (3) Digital age learning environments, (4) Professional development and program evaluation, (5) Digital citizenship, and (6) Content knowledge and professional growth (International Society for Technology in Education, n.d.)


International Society for Technology in Education. (n.d.). Standards for Coaches. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards/standards-for-coaches

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. (2015, September 23). Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching. Retrieved November 26, 2015, from http://tpep-wa.org/the-model/framework-and-rubrics/instructional-frameworks/danielson-framework/

Palmer, P. J. (2007). The heart of a teacher. In The courage to teach: Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.

Ribble, M. (2014, June 25). Essential elements of digital citizenship. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/articledetail?articleid=101

University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. (2015). Surveys of CPS Schools. Retrieved from https://ccsr.uchicago.edu/surveys

1 Comment

  1. Wow Justin! You’re introduction totally grabbed me and introduced your mission statements so well. Your website looks great!

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