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New mission, vision, values paint picture of success for East Elem.

East Elementary kindergarten student Alex Carranza, center, gets some quality reading time with his family during a recent "For the Love of Reading" event at his school. (Below) Kindergarten students share reading time with a parent, family member or special guest.

East Elementary School has a new mission, a new vision and a new set of values – all created to make the school a shining star among Union County elementary schools.

“Creating a new mission, vision and values, frames why we exist, the type of school we want to create and how we need to behave in order to create that school,” said East principal Denny Ferguson.

The question, "Why do we exist?" is answered through the school’s new mission: “We exist to ensure a lifetime of learning for all students so that they may become successful members of society.”

The new vision paints a picture, Ferguson said, of what the school is going to look like when it accomplishes that mission.

The process was a team effort, Ferguson said. “It can’t just be a banner on a wall. It has to come to life in our daily actions, so all the staff had a buy in, created it, wordsmithed it, through a long process.”

But that isn’t the end of the effort. “The staff created a list of values that are specifically for our staff,” Ferguson said. “The list says we are going to conduct ourselves as a professional. We’re going to use best practices so that we can create the school that leads to the mission, which is why we exist.”

Ferguson said now every staff member who is hired, every field trip the students go on, all the curricular material; every decision they make needs to align with that mission, vision and values.

In order to get the public to get on board, Ferguson invited community leaders to a public ceremony in March unveiling the new ideas.

“East Elementary is filled with passionate people, but we recognize that in order to make the greatest impact, we need to get all of our community members, parents, teachers, everybody pointed in the same direction,” Ferguson said.

Getting the community to embrace the new concepts seems to be working. The school recently invited the parents, community leaders and special guests to an event called “For the Love of Reading.”

Each kindergarten student shared reading time with a parent, family member or special guest. Participants visited classrooms to read with students. They then watched a video featuring the student telling why he or she loved reading. They also shared what they had learned thus far in the school year.

“Today is fantastic,” Ferguson said of the large number attending. “This is an outstanding turnout for community and parents.”

“I think it went really well,” said Shereka Barrett, parent of 6-year-old kindergarten student Jhymir Moser. “He read to me, I read to him, we read together. The kids worked really hard to show us what they’ve accomplished. Everybody did really good.”

Bev Langford and her husband, Phil, came from Charlotte to support their daughter, who teaches at East Elementary. “We love reading,” Bev said. “Everyone in our family is a big reader. You can’t do anything in this world if you can’t read. You are stuck. Anything we can do to help them read is a good thing.”

Ferguson said the community reading event is a good example of the focus of his teachers. “It’s not just focusing on the teaching, it’s focusing on the learning. This puts the focus on the student performing.”

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe - UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: May 20, 2015 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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