Jordan Collier

Friday Thoughts: Defining Our Essential Intent

Essential IntentI enjoyed the discussion we had on Wednesday regarding our essential intent and the specific ways we should focus our energy to accomplish our overall goal. In our learning community, it’s easy to be pulled in multiple directions doing many important things, but at the end of the day, it’s also easy to wonder how much significant progress we’ve made.

Because each of us brings varying skills and abilities to CAC, and because many of us wear different hats, narrowing in on our essential intent and our focus (as shown in the left figure above) becomes somewhat difficult. I think we are more like the figure on the right, because when we are all working in concert, we will still move forward as a school.

Thinking in these terms helps keep things in perspective. Since we all work in concert with each other, decisions typically have a domino effect and impact other areas of our school. For example, field trips are typically great learning opportunities, but the opportunity cost of a full-day field trip is students will miss classroom instruction in multiple classes.

Whether the field trip is a good idea depends on our essential intent. 

  • If our essential intent is to maximize classroom instruction, then no, it’s not worth it. Students should be in a classroom as much as possible.
  • If our essential intent is simply to have fun at school, then yes, it’s worth it (but is that the school we want to be?).
  • If our essential intent is be a positive, Christian learning community, then the trip is worth it because students will have an opportunity to learn together and build relationships with peers and teachers.
  • If our essential intent is to prepare students for standardized tests, then the trip may not be worth it.

Our essential intent makes all the difference in the world, it’s one decision that eliminates 1,000 decisions later, and it’s something worth making crystal clear. To help us narrow down our essential intent, this semester we’re going to focus on

  1. Curriculum Alignment
  1. Communication Improvements
  1. Finding Solutions that help students

It’s going to be a great semester and I look forward to working together to reach our goals.

Jordan Collier

Jordan Collier

Secondary Principal

Jordan Collier is the secondary principal at CAC. Prior to joining the CAC family in 2011, Jordan was an English teacher for the Cabot School District. Jordan is a two-time graduate of Harding University (’03 and ’08) and has a bachelor’s degree in English Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Each week, Jordan shares his Friday Thoughts with the CAC faculty and staff, and an excerpt of that is shared on The 'Stang.

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