Learning into Action
Barry Dequanne, Director

What is your mission or purpose in life? What is your vision for your personal future?

While we may not ask ourselves these questions very often, the ensuing reflections are often helpful in clarifying our values, articulating what is important to us, guiding our decisions, and determining how we focus our energy and time. These questions are also of paramount importance to organisations and communities such as ISZL, which is one of the reasons why we recently engaged in an extensive community-wide process to re-articulate our school's guiding statements. So what is the difference between mission and vision?

We are a community of learners determined to make the world – or our corner of it – a better, kinder place. We reflect our values in everything we do so that we make the most of the opportunities and challenges in a spirit of enthusiastic inquiry.

The mission statement is about our school’s purpose with a focus on today and what we do to realise these aims. The words, “we are a community of learners” signify that ISZL is not just a school, but rather a community working together to positively impact the lives of others.

During Professor Yong Zhao’s recent visit to our school, his words further emphasised this key facet of our mission: We don’t just learn from others, we learn for others as well. ISZL students embody these ideals every day through our many service programmes and the recent Youth Forum Switzerland event, for example. By creating something of value, there is purpose in learning, which enhances passion, creativity, and the development of an entrepreneurial mindset.

We help every student turn their learning into action, creating the opportunity to stretch themselves further and achieve more than they believe possible.

A vision is designed to be bold and aspirational. It is a belief and an ethos that drives us forward to realise the school we want to become. The mission represents a constant purpose that transcends time. In contrast, the vision is what we seek for our future selves. When we begin to actually achieve our vision, then it will be time to set a new and bolder aspiration for our future.

While our mission is about what we collectively do as a community, the vision is exclusively focused on our students and how we help every student turn their learning into action, stretching themselves further and achieving more than they believe possible. This vision can only be fully achieved through the aligned efforts of all community members.

The next step in this journey is to map out how we will advance our mission and vision to achieve our goals. The critical work to establish an articulated strategy and associated projects is currently in process and will be shared out in an upcoming edition of the ISZL Bulletin.

In the meantime, I would like to again thank you for your feedback and ideas during this journey. Your contributions, particularly from the Design Lab process, have played a critical role, not only in the development of ISZL’s guiding statements, but also towards the development of strategic priorities.

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