Creating a Culture, Vision, and Mission (Preview)

Part 1: Intro & Objectives

The culture, vision, and mission of a school have a major impact on the learning environment for students and the working environment for faculty and staff. This module addresses each of those three areas and provides examples of how to create a more healthy learning environment.

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Define and differentiate between school culture, climate, vision, and mission
  1. Understand the process for creating a school vision and mission
  1. Identify crucial components for inclusion in a school’s vision and mission

Part 2: Demonstration Videos

Before watching this video, consider your own school’s culture and climate.

  • What are the factors that make up a healthy or unhealthy environment?
  • How can you change the culture of your school?

Now that you have watched the video, you probably have some feelings and opinions about the school leaders behavior. Below are some questions and statements to consider and discuss and even write down before talking to a colleague about them:

  1. What were some of the ways the mentor and leader believed the school culture could be improved?
  1. What additional things do you think could be down to improve culture in this school?
  1. How do you think culture could be improved in your own school?

This video captures a conversation between a school leader and his mentor around school culture. The mentor asks questions to get a portrait of the somewhat toxic school teacher. The teacher then encourages the principal to think about ways to build trust, listen, and follow through with his plan.

Part 3: Resources & Activities


Due to copyright law, several readings cannot be hosted on this site. However, we encourage you to ask for assistance locating materials from your library media specialist. Many library services are freely available to educators.

School culture, they are not the same thing

The differences between school culture and climate are addressed in this article. Additionally, the authors make the connections between culture, climate, and staff performance.

Gruenert, S. (2008). School culture, they are not the same thing. Principal, March/April, 56-59. Retrieved from

View Article

Developing a vision and a mission

This online book chapter addresses key concepts related to developing a vision and mission. Actual steps in the process are described throughout the chapter.

Gabriel, J. & Farmer, P. (2009). Developing a vision and a mission. In How to Help Your School Thrive (Chapter 2). Retrieved from

View Article

Vision and Mission

This short article from the Center for School Change also examines the process of developing a vision and mission statement. Examples of both are provided.

Center for School Change (n.d.). Vision and mission. Retrieved from

View Article

The Culture Builder

Optional Read-This study investigated how school environment impacts achievement scores. The study found that students at schools with a healthy learning environments achieve higher scores on standardized tests.

Barth, R. (2002). The culture builder. Educational Leadership, 59 (8), 6-11. Retrieved from

View Article

Part 4: Review & Reflect

Please address the following questions and issues below. If you have difficulty, go back and review the lesson.

  1. What are the differences between school culture and climate and how do the two impact one another
  1. How could you improve your school’s culture?
  1. What are the important steps in the process of creating a vision and mission for your school?
  1. What are the important components of an effective school mission statement?
  1. What are the important components of a vision statement?
  1. Critique the current vision and mission of your school.

Back to: Preparing New School Leadership > School Leadership and Improvement