Colchester Middle School proudly introduces its new collaboratively written vision statement:
“CMS is an inclusive learning community committed to providing engaging, innovative, and rigorous academics while also building ‘TRRFCC’ character in its youth.”
Completed in June, the vision statement was written by CMS faculty and staff members with input from students and with guidance from CMS’s parent-teacher organization (PTO). Superintendent Waters issued a directive to Principal Dawn Gruss to study the unique features of the school and community; to identify the key strengths and needs at CMS; and to build a system of structures and supports that would make the vision statement a reality. The result was an inclusive process with support from CMS’s assistant principals (Peg Gillard and Dovid Yagoda), the CMS Educational Leadership Team (Aubrey Garrison, Jenn Roberge, Julie Tanguay, Carol Smith, Julie Rutz, and Kara Pawlusiak), and a myriad of community members.
The acronym “TRRFCC” (pronounced “terrific”) stands for trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship; the focus upon these six specific components of character comes directly from the work of the Character Education Partnership (CEP).
CMS created and will implement a developmentally designed teacher advisory (TA) program which will engage faculty and staff in activities and conversations aligning with the vision and the TFFRCC values.
“Vision statements are the inspiring words chosen to clearly and concisely convey the direction of an organization,” Principal Gruss said. “A clear vision statement allows CMS to define and communicate our intentions—motivating our school to realize an inspiring and common vision of the future. Our vision statement lets the community know our purpose and our values. It—like any vision statement—isn’t about where we are right now, in the present moment, but gives us something to actualize. And, with careful planning and progress, it will be fully realized in approximately five years … just in time for another vision statement. Growth, just like learning, is a continual process.”
Principal Gruss said that it is also important to note that character education is not is a canned program. “Building and sustaining a focus on character supports us in meeting key issues facing twenty-first-century learning communities, especially in the areas of academic achievement, academic integrity, bullying prevention, school climate, and service learning,” she said. “As the Colchester community has begun to see, we’re making strides, and we are working in a concerted manner in each of these areas.”
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