Living our Values
“Values are things you live by. You cannot “do” nouns. You can only “do” verbs.” Simon Sinek
2020 was a year that placed a spotlight on how important our personal and community values are. The COVID-19 pandemic caused us to reflect on what we truly value in the face of adversity and uncertainty. The St Catherine’s School Values provided a roadmap for remote learning behaviours, online interactions and the resilience to persist with a sense of purpose and optimism despite the challenges. The values of empathy, gratitude, integrity, curiosity and perseverance helped to guide us through fears, isolation and unprecedented change.
The challenges of the past year also enabled us to reflect on how we interpret these values. It was decided that to more readily align the School Values with tangible actions we would create ‘active’ value statements that guide behaviours as well as ideals. These statements will serve to create shared meaning, relevance and accessibility to the guiding principles for the whole School Community.
A School Values Committee was formed, with representation across the sectors of the School. The Committee was charged with establishing statements to ensure that students, staff and community members can easily identify practices, behaviours and beliefs that align with the School Values. Students and staff input was sought and a plethora of lively conversations unpacking the essence of our values ensued.
Key factors considered in this process included the need to consider age appropriate language to include the whole community, including students from 3-Year-Old ELC to Year 12. In order to communicate the actions as well as the intent we used active verbs to lend action to the abstract nouns. Justin Kerr, in his article ‘Values are Verbs’, questions, “How do you integrity something?’ He concludes that “Core values are not supposed to be a list of dead nouns painted on a wall…. Values are verbs.”
As we move towards the implementation of the new Towards 2025 Strategic Plan, the values that truly reflect the St Catherine’s School Community are:
We choose kindness and have the courage to care
We persist with purpose
We act responsibly and with good character
We wonder, question and discover
We express appreciation