Staples’ New Goal: Q&A with Principal John Dodig

Staples’ New Goal: Q&A with Principal John Dodig

Hans Rosling, a Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute, talks about the issues surrounding world population. This was the basis of the new school goal. |Photo from Flickr

In order to present Staples’ new school goal and mission statement to the student body, Principal John Dodig went on “Good Morning Staples” to showcase the goal’s purposes and incorporated a video into his explanations. In this interview Dodig explains how the goal and mission statement were established, and their purposes.

1. What is this year’s goal and mission statement?

School Goal:

Develop and integrate real world applications and assessments of contemporary literacy skills: within disciplines, across disciplines, school-wide, district-wide, and within the community.

That allow students to: know where to find information, synthesize and evaluate the information, use appropriate information across disciples to solve real-world problems, work collaboratively, and use effective communication skills to present findings and persuade others.

Mission Statement:

We strive to become a community of learners who treat each other with care and respect; we think critically, use contemporary literacy skills, and work to solve real-world problems.

2. What is the purpose of this statement?

New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) evaluates the school every 10 years; the next appraisal is in two years. One part of the evaluation is to create a mission statement. Everything we do in school should reflect it, so that every member of the community of learners treats each other with respect. It will teach contemporary literary skills in schools, and will be able to solve real-world problems. If a school does not pass NEASC’s standards, then it will not be accredited when students apply to colleges.

3. When were the mission statement and goal created? Who created it?

The mission statement took two years to create, and the goal was formed after about six months. We had brainstorming sessions with the leadership team composed of Assistant Principals and department heads. We tossed on the table infusing critical thinking, technology, and searching for information into everything that we do. After about four meetings, we sent something to the various departments so that they could offer suggestions. The final step took place on October 4 at a faculty meeting, where the staff voted whether the general sentiment was something that we believe in as a school. It will appear in the course catalog that comes out in February, and in every official document thereafter.

4. Why was this statement chosen? What do you hope that Staples students will get out of it?

The statement provides a focus and a foundation. I would hope that it can be placed in every classroom on posters so that students can look back and say that we’ve spent a lot of time working on what the statement says.

5. What was the video called? Who was in it?

Hans Rosling is the Swedish man who described the population growth in regards to competition.

6. What was its purpose?

The intent of the new goal is to invoke the mastering of 21st century skills. I used the video to show the goal in context, but some were offended by how it advocated competition. If every student ten years from now had the equivalent all amount of money as Bill Gates, think of what we could do for charity. We have a place in the world, and the ability to help others. If you’re going to live a good life in America, you must also compete with bright, young people in the US and other nations.

7. Do you think that the video was too long and maybe lost students’ interest?

I’m sure some students felt lost, but a lot more will happen in the classrooms. An upcoming faculty meeting is being devoted to this topic to talk about how we teach affects the students. For example, there is an African Students teacher who implemented the new mission in the classroom. The question that she posed to her students was why African citizens have not transitioned to becoming part of the middle class. The students then came up with sub-questions and did research to persuade each other about their own opinions, and what could be done about the issue. It gives an example of how the mission can be applied to real-world problems.

10. Some may say that the main point of the video was to encourage competition; do you think that Staples already has enough? How do you want to foster healthier forms of competition? Do you think this will lead to a more stressful environment?

Staples students are already competing for colleges. If awareness of what the world will look like brings or anxiety, then that is not the problem. I would rather know what I’m going into than not know. We hope that more kids will get excited about public speaking, which is the last piece of the goal and will become more confident in their abilities to speak in front of other people. This ability puts us on the cutting edge with other schools like ours. We can go to heights that most high school students do not even know exist; we can soar beyond those limits and tackle our goal.