We're on a Mission: Identifying an Appalachian Mission Statement for Schools

It seems oftentimes in discussions about American schooling that the global is privileged above the local. As teachers and educator researchers who were raised and have also worked in Appalachian schools, where the local is valued, we are convinced that in order to be effective global citizens, we must first prioritize that which is local and use it to connect students to global issues. Therefore, we are curious about the mission statements of public school districts located in the region, in particular those located in our home of rural Southwest Virginia. We will examine school mission statements in this area of the region, describing how they explicitly address localization and globalization. Through our analysis of these statements and interviews with school stakeholders, we hope to gain insight into if and how these mission statements reflect school culture and the values of the local community. Session participants will have the opportunity to explore the power of surface language and how community and/or global values are integrated in that language. Educators, scholars, and community developers will also be encouraged to reflect on how their own mottoes, slogans, and mission statements can best be developed to achieve community building goals.