Sticky Core Values


The four pillars that Solution Tree suggests are necessary for an effective PLC, or Professional Learning Community, are the same that all effective organizations are built upon. The vision, mission, core values, and goals all align to keep everyone focused and committed to the most impactful and important work.Related image

Our school team has done some very difficult and intentional work around our mission, vision, specific measurable goals (and even expectations Got Expectations?) and recently we knew it was time to hash out our school’s core values. To make this next step as meaningful as the others, our school’s Vision/Mission Team came together this past year and began clarifying this work. Three resources that shaped our ideas and initial stages:

After delving into this learning around what core values should represent, we came together and recorded our biggest takeaways. (Note, Sammy’s cat creation was separate and not harmed or erased during our work.🤣) What we added to this, and is not noted on the board, is that our core values needed to be “sticky.” They needed to be values that are stories that, when said, leave us and others curious to ask, “What’s that mean?”

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Feeling like we had a grasp on what having real, sticky core beliefs meant, we were ready to start coming up with our very own. Like any process involving creative, important work, we had a sluggish start. To spur the ideas that were slowly and painstakingly creeping from our minds to the Google sheet, I threw out the idea of “100 Bad Ideas” (see Why You Want To Generate Bad Ideas.) We set out to create a list of 100 stories, bad ones and all, tied to something we thought may be one of our core values as a school.

100 bad ideas

From this list of bad (and not-so-bad) ideas came several iterations of going off and reflecting on our own then coming together to discuss and refine. Finally, we had come up with our four sticky core values that we knew were, in reality, what sets us apart, makes us special, and tell stories that represent who we are.

sticky core values

Are you curious what The Genius of AND, Just Like Roosevelt, Mind in Boat, or Turn the Ship Around mean? Good. That’s the point! And stay tuned, we will be telling the story of each of these in Moments of Genius posts. (linked below)


Our next step in internalizing and iterating on these core values is for the Vision/Mission Team to tell the story as well as what the value means to them. They’ll be publishing four upcoming blog posts that will each do this for one of the sticky core values. Then, during our Taylor Mill Leader Retreat (our version of our Back-to-School staff day), we will be spending some time reflecting on and each adding to these stories.

What are your school’s or organization’s core values? How do you make them sticky, meaningful, and real? I’d love to connect with you about this. Tweet and tag me (@me1odystacy) to share your story because together we are brilliant! Or feel free to start a conversation by commenting below.

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