Reinvigorating School Missions

Teachers are at the center of Lausanne Learning’s mission to engage, empower, and transform. To do this, school missions must reflect the goals, vision, ideas, and reality of schools, and we can help you breathe new life into and make a plan for your school mission.

Reinvigorating School Missions

The move from the 20th century school to the 21st century school is a difficult change. The reality of college acceptance and the assumptions made at the college level driven by the public school model of testing and grades create an environment where both the private and public school feels that there is little structural room for maneuver.

Thus, schools are still organized and structured much as they have been since 1894 when the National Education Association agreed to the standardization of secondary education, and 1906 as the Carnegie Foundation instituted the 120 hour Carnegie Unit.

This systemic block to moving forward cripples progress from a student’s point of view since these old-style structures also influence the way in which students experience learning and teaching. The reality is that school structures are far more resistant to change than, at least potentially, school practices. The following table is intended to illustrate some of these tensions:


The central issue in faculty culture is the inconsistency demonstrated in student outcomes that represent enormous variation in teacher skill, motivation, and commitment to their profession. This teacher variation is summarized, somewhat stereotypically, in the following table:

This is not to dispute or impugn the inspirational work done by some educational leaders at the divisional and Head level across North America. It is also not to ignore that visionary work of educators such as Maria Montessori and A.S. Neill. Their accomplishments serve to highlight the intransigence of the system as a whole. But they are too few both historically and in the present.

Even current reformers within the system attempting top-down change discover the reality that Heads turn over every five years on average, far too soon to impact real change. Additionally, even visionary Heads and academic leaders find themselves fighting an often losing battle against parents and Boards who are concerned that innovation, risk, and vision are good for every school except theirs.

“Proven” track records of SAT, AP, ACT, MAP, ERB, IB scores and the college acceptance list have stymied attempts to change what does not seem to be “broken”, even as the realities of the career world and social norms continue to be rapidly in flux.

Changing the Dynamic

Since changing those structures from the top have largely failed, even where they have been tried, Lausanne Learning intends to change that dynamic by transforming schools from the bottom up. While it may be too difficult either politically or due to lack of will to change structures from the top down, a real revolution can be created in our classrooms such that students demand the kind of teaching that engages them, makes them want to come to school at all ages and grade levels, prepares them for a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world, and that inspires every student, not just the few who can achieve high test scores and 4.2 averages.

In the transformed school, on the other hand, an intrinsically motivated faculty are in a deep conversation with their administrator that is founded on mutual respect, deep support, active patience, and a laser-like focus on children.

In this school, mission is always a discussion seeking to always delve deeper into meaning and presence.

In this school, leadership is distributed, constantly learned, taught, and mentored.

Here, all faculty participate in the learning journey for themselves and with their children.

The transformed school is actually a transformed culture where “being” is active, engaged, vital, forward moving, purposeful and with meaning. In that culture each child enjoys success.

The Lausanne Learning Mission: Engage Students; Empower Faculty; Transform Schools

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1381 West Massey Road
Memphis, TN  38120






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