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Visioning Onward

A Guide for All Schools

By: Christine Y. Mason, Paul W. Liabenow, Melissa Day Patschke

Envision and enact transformative change with an iterative visioning process, thought-provoking vignettes, case studies from exemplary schools, key strategies and tools, and practical implementation ideas.

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781071800157
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2020
  • Page Count: 264
  • Publication date: February 07, 2020

Price: $39.95

For Instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.


The step-by-step guide to defining your vision—and making it reality

As a leader, it’s your job to look beyond the present and envision a brighter future for your school. Choosing the right path, however, can be a challenge.

This inspirational resource is your guide. By following its one-of-a-kind iterative visioning process, you’ll sharpen your vision into a road map for transformative change—tailored to the needs of your learning community. Features include: 

  • Key strategies and tools for building a shared vision
  • Practical implementation ideas
  • Case studies from exemplary schools
  • Common trends at the heart of impactful, positive change
  • Thought-provoking vignettes 

Turn vision into reality, possibilities into plans, and create an environment that strengthens engagement, provides safe and nurturing learning opportunities, and produces students with the skills, knowledge, and disposition to be successful in life.



Christine Y. Mason photo

Christine Y. Mason

Christine Mason, PhD, an educational psychologist, is a nationally recognized expert in the areas of educational reform, visioning, trauma and mindfulness, teacher and principal mentoring, and special education. She is also a yoga, mindfulness, meditation instructor who was trained in New Mexico and certified in 2001, with a Level II yoga certification in Conscious Communication in 2005. From 2005-2009, she was chair of the Education Committee for Miri Piri Academy, an international yoga boarding school in Amritsar, India. In 2009, she served for 5 months as the interim principal at Miri Piri. Since being certified to teach yoga, Christine has taught 2-5 yoga and meditation classes weekly in local community centers and for the Fairfax County Parks and Recreation program. She is a member of the International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association and is also certified in Radiant Child Yoga.

Christine is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Educational Improvement, an intentional collaborative of educators and researchers actively engaging to create a transformational system of education focused on collective healing and holistic learning. We identify, curate, develop, and scale-up sustainable practices, such as Heart Centered Learning and Leadership and student-led reform, that nurture family and community connectedness, well-being, equity, and justice.

Christine is also the Chief Advisor to the Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative, with Yale University’s New England Mental Health Technology Transfer Center. Her time as chair of Miri Piri’s education committee and her multiple visits to India, as well as her experiences networking for transformative educational change and researching exemplary educational programs, serve as the foundation for her beliefs and efforts to bring compassionate practices to all aspects of education.

Early in her career, Christine also was a classroom teacher and a professor, teaching courses in curriculum, inclusion, social emotional learning, educational assessment, and educational research. She has also served as Associate Executive Director of Research and Professional Development at the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP); Director of Professional Development for the Student Support Center in Washington, D.C.; and the Senior Director for Research and Development with the Council for Exceptional Children. Christine is lead author of several books and articles, including Mindfulness Practices: Cultivating Heart Centered Communities Where Children Focus and Flourish, Mindful School Communities: The 5 Cs of Nurturing Heart Centered Learning, Visioning Onward: A Guide for ALL Schools, and Compassionate School Practices: Fostering Children’s Mental Health and Well-Being. She is also the primary author and developer of an innovative process for developing compassionate school cultures: The School Compassionate Culture Analytical Tool for Educators (S-CCATE).

Paul W. Liabenow photo

Paul W. Liabenow

Paul Liabenow, Executive Director

Principal Mentoring: MEMSPA and the NAESP

The Michigan Elementary Middle School Principals Association (MEMSPA) is currently offering members personal mentoring and professional learning programs as member benefits. Several years ago, MEMSPA realized that its services were being used primarily by white school principals in schools that were also largely white. As executive director, Paul worked with a team of leaders to come up with a vision for improving education in Michigan. To realize the vision, MEMSPA redesigned its programs and offerings to better meet the needs of African American and Latinx principal leaders in urban areas such as Detroit. Today, 20 percent of MEMSPA principals are early career principals who receive services such as coaching and monthly mentoring chats. Additionally, weekly Tweet chats via #memspachat have become one of the best education chat experiences in the country. This valuable professional development tool allows like-minded educators to grow their professional learning network far beyond the walls of their classrooms. Miles disappear as technology provides the path for teachers, and school leaders to find ideas, share experiences, and support each other. The motivation of the learning often travels beyond the Twitter format and transforms into e-mails, phone calls, and even classroom collaborations. With the power of video-based tools such as Skype and Zoom, educator teamwork is at an all-time high around our country and our world.

Regarding MEMSPA’s current status and where it is headed, Paul says, “We are always visioninglooking ahead and continuously improving.” To vision, not only for MEMSPA but for other endeavors focused on mindful practices SEL and early literacy requires the collaborative work of leaders who have a heart for improving education for all students. He surrounds himself with business leaders, education content experts, futurists, and trusted allies who share his passion for improving the quality of life for all. A thirty-two-year educator including nearly ten years as superintendent of schools, Paul also serves as president of Core Communications International, president of the Center for Education Improvement, and owner of Liabenow Tree Farms located in Northern Michigan. His experience running a school district as superintendent and several small businesses has helped him develop a network of trusted allies.

One of the best ways to understand the value that MEMSPA brings to schools is to talk with MEMSPA members. In the book, you will find five interviews featuring MEMSPA principals.

Melissa Day Patschke photo

Melissa Day Patschke

Dr. Melissa D. Patschke, Principal

Upper Providence Elementary School, Royersford, PA

Spring City Elementary, Spring City, PA

Melissa has served public education for more than thirty years. She has taught in a variety of special and regular education programs, worked at the middle and elementary levels, and served students from both urban and suburban areas. Melissa has hosted national webinars, trained national mentors, and published articles featuring best practices for schools. She has shared her messages on the international platform through exchanges and collaborative projects. She presently serves on the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Association of Elementary and Secondary School Principals and for the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Through these respected networks, Melissa partners with leaders across the nation to advocate on behalf of what’s right for children and schools. Melissa is passionate about shared visionary practices that elevate our impact for children through whole child philosophies, culturally responsive schools, service learning, global networks, mentoring, positive school cultures, and increasing leadership capacity.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Online Resources

Foreword by Daniel A. Domenech



About the Authors


1. The Art of Seeing

     How Leaders of Learning Transition From Believing It to Seeing It

     Visioning Onward: Preparing for Challenges

     What Is the Role of Schools Today?

     The Opportunity That Is Opening for Schools

     Why Visioning?

     The Powerful Impact of Visioning

     Visioning—Permission to Thrive and Change

     Some Additional Considerations—In the Long Term

     Conclusions—Visions and Our Day-to-Day Reality

2. Believe It to See It: Creating a Vision

     Ancient Visions—Burning Cities and Prophecies

     Visioning in Modern Times—Dewey to Today

     Is Visioning Still Relevant in 2020?

     Why Do We Encourage Schools to Embrace Visioning?

     Visioning—One Secret of Uncommon Leadership

     It Takes a Team

     Community Building: How Much Involvement Do You Anticipate?

     Factors to Consider for Visioning at Your School or District

     How Do Visions Relate to a School’s Purpose?

     Visioning and ESSA

     Visioning in Schools—Opportunities Today to Recreate Education

     Where Is Your School (Or District) Headed?

     Conclusions—Visioning in a Time of Uncertainty and Implications for Schools

3. 21st Century Concerns—Food for Thought

     Dreams, Visioning Onward, and Changes in Schools

     Do Visions Make a Difference?

     Five Great Companies

     Comparing Visions

     Visions as Disruptions

     Visions, Missions, and Successful Ventures

     How Innovations Have Disrupted Our Lives

     Visioning—Various Lenses

     Holistic Understanding

     Group Effort

     Knowledge and Values

     Visions That Incorporate Many Perspectives

     Visioning Is Not Missioning

     Visioning Onward for School Improvement

     Dreams, Visioning Onward, and Changes in Schools

     Conclusions—Collectively Visioning Outside the Box


4. Visioning: Steps 1–4

     Doing the Work

     So How Will You Proceed With Visioning at Your School?

     Some Prerequisites—Biding Time, Building Trust

     An Example of Where Visions Might Take You—Green Schools

     Visioning—Light-Years Beyond Ordinary (Path 1)

     Another Need—Visioning to Handle a Crisis (Path 2)

     Considerations for the Visioning Process

     A Recommended Eight-Step Visioning Process

     Step 1—Form a Vision Steering Team, and Develop a Visioning Process Blueprint

     Before the Visioning Process Begins

     Step 2—Identify Participants for the Visioning Process

     Step 3—Develop the First Draft of Your Vision, and Imagine Your School the Way You Would Like It to Be

     Step 4—Research Exemplars and Options

     Conclusions—Borrowing From the Greats

     Resources and Ideas to Support the How of Visioning

     Iterative Visioning

5. Visioning Case Study

     The Opening of a New School—Upper Providence Elementary School (UPES)

     Visioning Questions for UPES

     Key Questions for Parents

     Thirteen Years Later—Refreshing Our Vision

     Staf-faculty Focus Group Questions

     UPE 5

     Pro-Social Pledge

     An Existing School With New Leadership at Spring City Elementary School

     Spring City Staff Entry Plan Questions

     Vision Questions for Spring City Staff

     Conclusions—Collaboration Is Key

6. Visioning Steps 5–8

     Steps 5–8

     Step 5—Refine Your Vision Using an Iterative Visioning Process

     Step 6—Develop Mission and Goal Statements, and Determine How to Measure Progress

     Mission Statements and the Strategic Planning Process


     Measuring Progress

     Step 7—Secure Consensus. Ensure That You Are Communicating With Those Who Didn’t Participate or Who Have a Different Vision

     Step 8—Develop an Action Plan to Implement Your Vision

     How to Develop an Action Plan

     Conclusions—Developing an Action Plan as a Team

7. Barriers and Sustainability

     Vision, Mission, and Goals—Implementation

     Lead the Visioning Journey

     Obstacles on the Path

     What Processes Will Be Affected?

     Challenges in Implementing Heart Centered Learning

     Promoting Heart Centered Learning

     Implementing Visions Requires Change

     You’re Not Operating in a Vacuum


     Focus, Priorities, and Goal Setting

     When Leadership Changes

     Conclusions—Leveraging Communities Near and Far to Overcome Barriers to Sustainability


8. Future Visioning—Here and Across the Globe

     Trends in Education Affecting How Schools Operate

     Change and Its Drivers

     Technology and Our Way of Being and Doing

     Unwanted Side Effects of Too Much Technology

     Change Driver 1—Automating Choices

     Change Driver 2—Civic Superpowers

     Change Driver 3—Accelerating Brains

     Mindfulness and Executive Functioning

     Change Driver 4—Toxic Narratives


     The Future of Employment

     Change Driver 5—Remaking Geographies

     Change Driver 6—Social Emotional and Heart Centered Learning

     Heart Centered Learning

     Implementing Heart Centered Learning

     International Concerns and Children’s Well-Being

     An Entrepreneurial Vision for Education on a Global Scale

9. Conclusion

     Leadership for Tomorrow