St. Margaret’s Episcopal School Board of Trustees concluded a year-long review of the school’s guiding principles last week at its October 2020 meeting when the school’s governing body finalized and unanimously approved updated language to the school’s Core Values: Character - We emphasize integrity, spirituality, empathy, perseverance and responsibility.Community - We champion mutual respect, engagement, collaboration, service learning and a commitment to the common good.Balance and Breadth - We believe personal growth, balance and well-being are fostered through a broad range of academic, artistic, athletic and co-curricular opportunities.High Expectations - We prepare and empower our students to discover and develop their unique gifts and talents to achieve their full potential.Equity and Inclusion - We embrace and celebrate the identity of every human being, and advocate for equity, inclusion and justice.
An institution’s core values work alongside its mission as shared, fundamental beliefs that guide and nurture school culture and the manner in which the community lives and works together. Noteworthy changes to the St. Margaret’s Core Values language include the full articulation of the Equity and Inclusion Core Value, adopted in October 2019, and incorporating the focus of well-being, service learning, empathy, perseverance and empowerment.
“An integral part of the role of the Board of Trustees is to safeguard the Mission and institutional long-term planning. This includes periodic review and affirming the Core Values that guide our actions and strategic vision for the institution,” Board of Trustees President Paul Westhead said. “The Board of Trustees is proud to recognize the tremendous effort and progress made over the last several years in the area of equity and inclusion, and we believe establishing it as one of our Core Values is a statement to our families and the broader community about who we are today and what we aspire to be in the years to come.”
The Board’s initial review of the Core Values by the Long-Range Strategic Planning Committee last year revealed the need to elevate and emphasize an important priority and focus of the school, and they proposed and approved the new Equity and Inclusion Core Value in the fall of 2019.
“We recognized that our deepening and long-term commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, cultural competency and justice over the past decade had surpassed the position of a strategic priority for our institution. Rather it is a foundational touchstone, as our other Core Values along with our Episcopal identity, that should guide everything we do and our outlook for the future,” Head of School Will Moseley said. “We will lean on our Equity and Inclusion Core Value to inform and guide us as we educate our students and care for our community, especially as we work toward becoming an increasingly antiracist institution. This is the most impactful work we will do as a school community and with our young people, and cementing it into the bedrock of our institution as a Core Value was vitally important.”The fifth core value was approved at the October 2019 Board of Trustees meeting
and expanded the existing values of Character, Community, Balance and Breadth, and High Expectations.
To conduct the review, Trustees divided into self-selected teams dedicated to each Core Value to review the descriptions and provide feedback and any recommended changes or additions based on the institution as it is today and the Board’s vision and aspirations for its future. The Board asked the professional community to conduct the same review process, which also occurred by self-selected Core Values teams across the entire school at the January 2020 professional development day. The process allowed for meaningful reflection and discussion on each statement to validate the institution’s values and beliefs, as well as to support shared understanding and purpose.
The long-range strategic planning committee reviewed all feedback and made final decisions on updated language, which was approved at the October 2020 Board of Trustees meeting and has been updated in guiding documents for the school.