School mission statements or belief statements such as the following examples collected by Roland Barth (1993) are one method that schools and communities can use to publicize their commitment to developing self-directed learners:
"At the Atrium School, education is a developmental process involving the whole child. Children are individuals who feel, create, communicate, and take in information in unique ways. The Atrium community encourages children to value themselves and to trust in themselves as learners. The children's academic and social development are closely linked. Daily interactions are based on respect for the self, for others, and for the environment.
"In keeping with the founders' vision, a strong sense of community is fostered in the school through mixing ages in classrooms, small groups, and lunchrooms, and through team teaching, partnered classes, senior citizen aides, and parental involvement. The Atrium staff strives for a multicultural environment where differences are celebrated in order to develop sense of the self as part of a larger world. Children, staff, and parents compose a community of learners.
"At the Atrium, elementary education as a joyful process of discovery in which the child is a participant and experiences success. Immersion in the processes of observing, listening, writing, reading, recording, ordering, experimenting, and interpreting naturally leads to understanding and mastery. Children need time and flexibility in order to make connections as they learn. The Atrium environment provides active experiences through which children create and develop tools for lifelong learning.
"Teachers and classroom structure guide children toward taking responsibility for themselves. Whenever possible, the approach to learning fosters independence of thought and emphasizes problem solving and critical thinking. Children develop compassion, integrity, and tolerance through discussion and emphasis on feelings and sharing. Hands-on experience, integration of subjects, and collaboration among children are stressed. The acquisition of skills is a developmental continuum from grade to grade.
"Atrium teachers are encouraged to design a curriculum that blends and balances children's intellectual, social, and creative needs. The teachers' knowledge of child development and close, continual observations of individual children enable them to employ a combination of existing educational methods and innovative approaches.
"By recognizing each child for her or his strengths and by encouraging all members of the community to treat each other with respect, the teachers strive to create a safe environment that allows children to experiment and take risks as they explore the world. The goal is for children to emerge from the Atrium with a positive sense of self, an intact love of learning, and the skills necessary to continue their exploration."
Belief Statement from Cooper City High School
"We at Cooper City High believe that: