I recently sat down and listened to an Illinois principal named Steve Pearce. He was presenting at the PLC institute in Hollywood.
He was telling us how he was hired in the “armpit” of the district three years ago. (His words.)
One of the many strategies that he implemented to change the identification of the school was to create a mantra for the school.
What’s a mantra?
It’s used in businesses all the time. It’s basically a quick statement to capture the essence of a business.
A mantra is a little different from a slogan. A slogan is what businesses use to sell their product.
A mantra is what businesses use to remind their employees what the company stands for.
I think, however, in a school setting, a mantra and a slogan should be combined.
It should be something that should not only capture the essence of the school, but also to promote the school to the community so it knows what the school offers as its “product.”
I still remember my high school’s slogan: Home of the Vikings.
How does that describe what goes on in the school?
It tells visitors that the priority of the school was its athletic program.
That was over 30 years ago, so I hope the slogan has changed.
Some of the slogans that I saw on TV while I was writing this post were:
Eat Fresh (Subway)
Trusted Everywhere (Duracell)
Are You in Good Hands? (All State)
Kid tested, Mother approved. (Kix)
So what makes a good school mantra or slogan?
It has to be positive.
It has to be informative.
It has to be easy to remember.
It has to be catchy.
It has to be purposeful
It has to capture the essence of the school.
A good slogan will remind the staff, the parents, the visitors, and the students what happens at that school.
Even if a school has a negative reputation, a positive mantra/slogan will be the first step in transforming it into a positive school. Notice I said a first step. A slogan alone won’t fix a bad school. I need to make that clear.
That mantra/slogan needs to be placed on letterhead, t-shirts, yearbooks, and anywhere else the name of the school is displayed. It should be on the marquee in front of the office. It should be repeated in the daily announcements, and is should be part of the opening welcome at Open House.
At my school, we currently don’t have a slogan. I’m sure this will change this year. We’ll be having meetings to discuss the direction our school will take this year, and coming up with a slogan will be part of that process.
We do have a mantra / slogan: “Our students – One Step Ahead” I just remembered. Oops.
Some may think having a slogan is a little cheesy or hokey, but I think businesses like McDonalds (“I’m Lovin’ It) would disagree.
I thought I’d start the ideas flowing with some possible slogans.
“Where all students learn”
“Where success happens every day”
“Our students – our school – our success”
“No excuses – only success”
“Failure is not an option.”
“Where students go to succeed”
“Success is what we do!”
“Creating bright futures every day”
“Preparing tomorrow’s leaders”
“We make a difference.”
I also thought of slogans that probably won’t make the cut:
“Where most students succeed”
“Where students come to find themselves”
“Where kids behave…most of the time”
“Where teachers try and do more with less”
“The second happiest place on earth”
“Where students get it the first time, because that’s all they get”
“Where teachers get along with each other”
“The gum-free school”
“The second best school in the district“
“Dress code is our priority”
“Where all students learn, except English learners and resource students”
“The armpit of the district”
So what is your school’s mantra/slogan?
Do you have any ideasfor a good or bad mantra / slogan?
I’d love to hear from you.
I ran across another great post on mantras. Check it out here: http://azjd.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/a-principals-first-week-visions-missions-mantras/ (@azjd)
Special thanks to Principal Steve Pearce (@StevePearce4) for inspiring this post.