Businesses and even schools usually have some sort of vision statement–or a promise for customers or students. Do you have a vision statement for your program? I didn’t either until I started looking into how to apply business principles to increase enrollment for my courses.

While I was in my educational leadership program, we talked a lot about creating vision and mission statements, but when I looked into my district’s and school’s vision and mission, quite frankly, they sounded like a lot of educational buzzwords that were wordsmithed together to pass some part of school accreditation. At this same time, I started listening to the School Leadership Reimagined podcast which is hosted by Robyn Jackson, and in several of her episodes, she tells of her system of creating a vision statement.

Here, we’re going to use her system to create a vision statement. Once you have a great vision statement for your program, you can use this vision statement in your course description and all other social media and recruiting efforts to increase enrollment.

In this episode, Khristen discusses:

  • Your Vision MUST Include 100% of Your Students
  • Your Vision MUST have a Clear, Measurable Outcome
  • Where to Use Your Vision Statement

Your Vision MUST Include 100% of Your Students

Your vision is the promise you will make to 100% of your students–no excuses! This may seem like a daunting task and even a promise most are not willing to make, but I imagine that you became an educator to change lives–and not just the few who are lucky enough to learn something in your courses.

As a parent, I’m bothered by vision statements that include a percentage of less than 100% in something like literacy. I find myself wondering that if the school goal is 88%, will my children fall in the 88% or will they be in the 12%?  In Utah, we have the campaign, “Zero Fatalities” with the subheading as “A goal we can all live with.” The website also points out that, “When it comes to your friends and family, zero fatalities is the only acceptable number.” Keep thinking about 100% of your students as we move on to the next rule for creating your vision.

Your Vision MUST have a Clear, Measurable Outcome

Having a clear, measurable outcome is also another area where most visions fall flat. Let’s look at this vision: Our vision is to build lifelong learners who will be college and career ready who are effectively prepared for 21st-century society. Okay…and how exactly are you going to measure that? Are you planning on giving the students a survey in ten years? Are they going to write an essay or turn in a project? How do you know that students are even on track to meet that goal?

The previously mentioned questions are all ones that you need to ask yourself when you are creating your vision statement. How do you know that students are on track to meeting this goal and how do you know when they have met the goal? This could lead back to one of your essential standards–especially if you feel like there is one major overarching-standard. 

Here are some examples of effective vision statements relating to career and technical education:

  1. By the time students complete the introduction to engineering design course, !00% of students will be able to apply and document the engineering design process to solve a real-world problem.
  2. By the end of the school year, every one of our advanced welding students will have certified in at least one industry-standard welding certification.
  3. At the end of this culinary course, every student will pass and receive their food handler’s permit.
  4. All photography students will have a portfolio demonstrating proficiency in lighting, composition, storytelling, and emotion.

Other Tips When Creating Your Vision Statement to Increase Enrollment

In our education world, acronyms and buzzwords are used too frequently, and can only be understood by fellow educators. Make sure that your vision is student-centered, just like when writing “I can statements,” and can be easily understood by students and parents. They want to know that they are on track for success just as much as you do. Use this vision in your course descriptions, in your social media, in your classroom as a reminder for what you guarantee, and as an assessment tool to show progress and give feedback. As always, don’t be afraid to adjust if it is not working.

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