Activity Directions: Identify Core Values and Beliefs about Learning

This activity provides educators with an opportunity to hear differing views regarding core values and beliefs about learning.


Stakeholders come to consensus on the core values and beliefs about learning for their organization.


60 minutes


1. Make decisions about who will participate in this activity. It is important that core values and beliefs about learning are the result of thoughtful conversations about the direction the entire organizational community wishes to pursue and the values that drive them in that direction. To ensure that core values and beliefs about learning reflect the larger community, they should be developed in a collaborative, dynamic and inclusive process. This process should include administrators, teachers, students, families, and community members who have vested interest in shaping the school culture that promotes improved learning for all students.

2. Print copies of the Identify Core Values and Beliefs for Learning handout for each participant and additional copies for group tallies.

3. The last step in identifying the values, and beliefs is for a large group tally. Ensure there is a white board, chart paper or other material available so all participants can view the tallies.


1. Provide relevant background information regarding the development of values and beliefs about learning. This should include reviewing the mission and vision and other relevant guiding documents of the organization.

2. Ensure all participants have the Identifying Core Values and Beliefs for Learning handout.

Part 1: Identify Core Values

In small groups:

1. Each participant circles the top 10 core values they have for the organization.

2. Each participant shares the 10 core values they have identified. Have a recorder use a new handout to identify each core value identified in the small group, place a tally mark when core values are repeated.

3. Have the small groups add their tally marks to a whole group recording sheet.

As a whole group:

4. Discuss the core beliefs identified, especially those that have the most tally marks.

5. Decide on the rationale for determining which values are most fundamental.

6. Use the rationale to help identify the top 5 or 6 core values (more or less if desired).

Part 2: Identify Beliefs about Learning

1. Repeat the same process as the one just utilized in Part 1, beginning by circling 3 belief statements.

Part 3: Next Steps

1. Post the resulting core values and beliefs

2. Provide time for initial conversations for how these core values and beliefs might be incorporated into decision-making related to instruction and curriculum.


Adapted from the Commission on Public Schools and Committee on Public Secondary Schools. New England Association of Schools and Colleges, INC. (Revised June, 2016): Guide to Developing and Implementing Core Values, Beliefs, and Learning Expectations.