The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Andrew Christiansen

School defines its culture with 'core covenants' to build trust


Integrity, respect and commitment are the “core covenants” for Goldendale School Superintendent Mark Heid. It is the keystone piece of an effort to define the standards of behavior at Goldendale schools and enhance the connection between the school and the public.

Heid has taken the lead, drawing off the principles of citizenship promoted by the Walt Disney Company, character development from Proactive Coaching, and teaching principles of Time to Teach. Using a matrix in a sports tournament fashion, Heid selected integrity, respect, and commitment as the descriptors for what he stands for and what he wants to see at Goldendale schools. At the heart of the effort, says Heid, is building trust among the students and faculty to help them achieve success. While there are other emphases on academic success, this effort focuses on behavior and culture.

Heid’s covenants describe what he wants to see from himself and others. The matrix has been shared with students and Heid is trying to bring parents and the community on board. One of the efforts that should become very visible around Goldendale is the purple and gold signs that state the principles that guide the school. A number of businesses have already agreed to have the 4’x 8’ signs mounted on their buildings. Heid is looking for three or four more locations for signs. In addition, home owners can get on board as another 100 signs will be made of a smaller size, suitable for posting in your yard.

The point of the emphasis is to define the culture and values of the school, its administration, staff, and teachers. Heid wants the public to have a clear understanding of those principles and he wants the parents and community and students to buy into the culture. He wants the school to teach by example. “We want to be a good role model,” says Heid.

Each school and each athletic group at the high school and middle school have also defined their core covenants. Anyone attending high school football and volleyball games has already seen what most of the sports have selected as their guiding terms.

A series of articles will run in The Sentinel, explaining the covenants and how they apply to the school, parents and the public.

Next week will focus on what the core covenants look like as they apply to parents and community members.

Anyone who wants to host a board can contact Heid at 773-5177.


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