Why do we need a vision and Shared Core Values?
Education is a team sport. From teachers to school leaders to bus drivers to paraprofessionals to facility managers to family liaisons to district leaders, it takes all of us working together to prepare our kids for college and career. No matter how much each of us individually strive and work for our kids’ success, it’s only as a values-based team that we will achieve it.
Like any successful sports team, or business team or community team, we need to ensure we are working together with a shared set of values that puts us all on the same page – values that we use as a foundation for our decisions, a guide for our behaviors and a basis for our trust.
On Aug. 2, 2012, a group of 1,000 team members from all across DPS — teachers, school leaders, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, social workers, facility managers, finance team members, family liaisons, district leaders — came together to celebrate our work, to share our personal connections to the mission that binds us, and to collectively choose our Shared Core Values that are the foundation for everything we do together in educating our kids.
The inaugural Our DPS Day, we started first with each individual selecting core values that are of greatest importance to them. We then moved on to discussions and voting in groups of five people, then 10, then 20, then 40, then 80 -- and finally came back together as a full group of 1,000! In each round, every individual in the room had the exact same number of votes for the values and were given the opportunity to talk to colleagues about the values they believe in most deeply.
In the end, the values with the highest number of votes were selected as our DPS Shared Core Values: Students First, Integrity, Equity, Collaboration, Accountability and Fun.
Our Shared Core Values serve as the foundation for all of our work, including the Denver Plan 2020, as they bring us together and drive how we interact with each other in pursuit of our vision, Every Child Succeeds. To achieve our goals, we must first stand on our values as a shared basis for our actions and decisions. With this shared foundation, we will reach our full potential as a team and thus help each of our kids reach their own full potential.
It’s important that our values are more than words -– they need to be actions that we all live every day. It’s up to all of us to continuing bringing them to life and help them “go viral” throughout all of DPS.