3 Guiding Principles

Educators and policy makers strive for school communities to reach their academic promise. To reach this goal they must ask: How can students and staff meet high academic standards if they don't believe in their ability to do so? If school communities are to help students and staff enjoy academic, social, and personal success, they must believe in themselves, be actively engaged in learning, and help students see the connection between what they learn today and who they want to become tomorrow. When these experiences are absent, aspirations flounder and achievement declines.

The 3 Guiding Principles provide educators with a practical model that can be used to guide the development of educational experiences, from the individual classroom to the entire school building. If school curriculum, activities, lessons, professional development, goal setting, and evaluation support each of the Guiding Principles, students and staff will be more likely to achieve academic, personal, and social success.

The 3 Guiding Principles are:


Self-Worth flourishes when students and staff know they are valued members of the school community, have people in their lives they can trust and learn from, and believe they have the ability to achieve academically, personally, and socially.


Engagement takes root when schools ensure students and staff are deeply involved in the learning process, showing enthusiasm and a desire to learn new things, and willingness to take positive, healthy steps toward the future.


Purpose in school is fostered when students and staff take responsibility for who and what they want to become, both by looking forward to professional careers as well as acting in the present as confident, responsible members of their communities.

Schools put these Guiding Principles into action using the next part of the Aspirations Framework:
The 8 Conditions That Make a Difference™.