Symbolic Frame Wiki Questions
  • To what degree are the mission and vision statements employed?
  • A school's mission and vision statement are symbolic statements to show the school's values and beliefs and provide meaning and direction. Deal and Peterson (2009) discuss how people need a mission and a purpose to connect with the school's goals. To what degree mission and vision statements are employed depend on what meaning they provide to the school. If these statements are a medium that provide that emotional connection for why a school operates, then it will be evident in the culture of the school. Most likely, these statements will be implemented in the daily operations of a school and the staff and students will know what the school's values are. My school's mission and vision statements are reviewed regularly to remind us as a staff what we are doing and why we are doing it. (Jody Wood)
  • Serving as the bedrock of a school's culture (Deal & Peterson, 2009), its mission and vision statement provide the underlying purpose and meaning to what brings us all together each day. It encompasses all stakeholders, from the teachers, to the faculty, students, parents, and community because as they say, "it takes a village...". As a basis for any policy, procedure, ritual, and routine, the mission statement provides the underlying purpose. Usually, they are visible to those who enter the school whether it be painted on a main hallway wall or a banner hanging in the main office lobby. It serves a a constant reminder of what is to be accomplished. (Meredith)
  • In schools that have cohesive cultures, it is evident that the school knows what its vision and mission statements are. When you walk into these schools there are banners and slogans that promote that vision and mission statement (Bolman & Deal, 2010). The message is, “This is what our school stands for. We’re proud of who we are, and we want to share it with you” (p. 114). On the other hand, schools with weak cultures do not have a clear vision or mission statement. The staff often does not agree about the direction in which the school is going (Bolman & Deal, 2010). Any school that wants to have a positive culture needs to have a staff that agrees and is aware of what it stands for. (Lisa Miller)
  • The mission and vision statement are the values, beliefs and culture of the school. The symbolic frame is used to celebrate the values and culture of the school. A ceremony is the celebration of a core aspect of the school culture (Bolman & Deal, 2010). With the occurrence of ceremonies, the school is reinforcing the values of the school and making sure that everyone knows and vales the core beliefs of the school. (Julia Civitello)
  • The mission and vision statement are employed in the symbolic frame to a great degree if it is displayed in the school for everyone to see. The teachers and staff should have the mentality that We’re proud of who we are, and we want to share it with you” (p. 114). The school celebrated the mission statement with the success of its teachers and students as well as the vision for the school.(Linda Edwards)
  • The symbolic frame is rooted in a metaphor of spirituality. Much like participation in a religion or spirituality-infused tribe, the symbolic frame is all about representing a set of underlying beliefs and values. As such, the symbolic leader of an organization is one that is revered because he or she embodies the values of a school. At my developed a values system for my school called IDEALS: Integrity, Discipline, Enjoyment, Achievement, Leadership, and Sisterhood (we are an all-girls school). And our mission is to educate girls for academic achievement and empower girls to make healthy lifestyle choices. We employ our mission and vision daily as we educate and empower our students and model and teach the IDEALS. The Pico school was justr beginning to emplot the symbolic frame at the end of the school year discussed, with a focus on celebrating symbolic leaders and honoring community rituals. (Nikki Stewart).
  • When walking onto a school campus, vision and mission statements are posted where everyone who walks into the doors can see them. They are employed to show others what success the school has had and what they are doing to continue to be great. These two statements show the history of the school, everything that it has achieved. "The history provides building blocks that leaders can use in crafting the future" (Bolman & Deal, 2010, p. 115). The mission and vision represent the values and beliefs that the school and those that are in it share and implement. ( Melissa Beall)

  • Who are the heroes or heroines of a school using this frame and why?
  • The heroes and heroines of a school are the people who give faculty, staff, and community a reason to feel pride in their school. The heroes and heroines can be anyone who is part of the school- a student, a teacher, the secretary, the principal, and/or the crossing guard. These are the people who do something exceptional for the organization and the people because they are so devoted to its success. Sadly, one of the heroes of my school passed away unexpectedly at the beginning of this year. Pauly was a custodian in the district for more than 38 years. He could have retired many years earlier, but he truly loved his job and interacting with the students and staff. Pauly did little things to make others feel part of the family. He unlocked all of the classroom teachers' doors before they came in the building, opened their windows when it was hot, and turned the fans on. He also interacted with the kids and told them jokes in the lunch room. Every single kid in the school knew Pauly by name (Mr. Pauly). Last year, Pauly fell off a ladder and blew out his knee. Most of us thought that this would be his moment to retire. But, no. After a few months of rest and rehabilitation, he was right back to work. Currently, the art teacher and the students are creating a mosaic of Pauly's face, and there will be a ceremony at the end of the year to dedicate this piece of artwork to him and his family. (Dana B.)
  • Heroes and heroines are regular people that become important school symbols through their caring and dedication which exceeds normal expectations (Deal & Peterson, 2009). These heros can be anyone; teachers, administrators, custodians, cafeteria workers, and even students. It isn't about what position they have at a school, it is about the role they play at the school. Heros and heroines are our role models and our biggest fans. They believe in who we are and push us beyond what we think we can do and into what we thought we never could do. (Jody Wood)
  • Heros and heroines are those persons who are a part of the school who care for the school and all those within the school. They work hard to make sure that the school is seen in a favorable light by the community. They are there whenever the need arises and are willing to do whatever it takes to make the school a success.A hero or heroine can be a teacher, student, parent, community volunteer, or anyone who has the best interest of the school at heart. They care for the students and staff of the school. They want to see the students succeed and they want to provide any opportunities available for the students and teachers. In my school, we have a parent who comes each day and volunteers in the cafeteria, she spearsheads luncheons for the teachers and always has some idea that will support the students and teachers. The students know her and she knows them and is always willing to share with staff if something in the community is happening that may be helpful. She is one of our heroines.(Joyce W.)
  • The heroes and heroines of schools within the Symbolic Frame are those who maintain traditions alive and create initiatives to celebrate new achievements. The heroes and heroines of a school commemorate previous milestones in the life of a school as an organization and are protectors of the school culture and uniqueness. Within a school, heroes and heroines can be administrators, teachers,parents, students, and staff members. In the case of Pico School, several heroes and heroines can be mentioned. Phyllis Gleason, Bill Hill, Margaret Juhl, and Joan Hilliard were some of the people who fought for a brighter future at Pico. They used their knowledge, personal experiences, enthusiasm, and influence to recover and create values, rituals, and ceremonies that Pico School needed to reflourish (Bolman & Deal, 2010). -Niurka Fernandez-
  • The heroes and heroines of a school can be just about anoyone. A hero or heroine can be a student, teacher, administrator, other staff members, parents, or community members. The heroines of Pico School were most definitely Bill Hill and Margaret Juhl. These two employees helped new employees like Joan Hillard feel welcome (Bolman and Hillard, 2010). The school where I work has a hero and I have mentioned her in many discussions. Ms. Patsy definitely goes above and beyond what is asked of her. She is one of the teachers that has been there to longest and parents love visiting her room daily. Patsy is willing to come in early and stay late to helpcover for other teachers duties. (Jessica Compton)
  • The heroes and heroines within the Symbolic Frame of leadership are the leaders who instill pride in others. They are the ones who go out of their way to encourage you and make you feel important. The heroes leave a lasting impression that inspires others to share stories and memories about them. In the Pico School, Phyllis Gleason understood that the former principal Mr. Bailey was thought of as a hero. The members of the school staff and even student body spoke of him often. They told stories about him that will continue in the years to come. (Mary Ann)
  • The heroes and heroines within the symbolic frame are those withint he schools who go above and beyond to make evryone feel welcome, important and valued. This type of person tends to go above and beyond the scope of their job title. These people can also be parents. They will volunteer to do the jobs that noe one wants to do. They leave a lasting impression and are the "face of the school". (Candy Vetter)
  • The heroes are all of the individuals who have taken a part in implementing the vision, mission, and values and beliefs of the school. The heroes are those that are always trying to find innovative ways to make the school even better, achieving the most possible and reaching its full potential. The foundation that is set in place has not been built all by itself. It has taken the hard work and dedication of the staff on campus to help lay the foundation that is eager to be shown and presented to others. (Melissa Beall)
  • The heroes and heroines within the symbolic frame are all of those that make the organization part of who they are. The take pride in what they do and of the organization they belong to. They are teachers, administrators, custodians, lunch people, students, and parents. They mark the school and others around them in a positive manner. They are seen as a school symbol that reflects the good of the school and all positive change to come. (Elizabeth Romo)

  • What are examples of ceremonies and rituals that are common to schools?
  • Bolman and Deal (2010) explain: "Celebration and ceremony, at their best, are antidotes to boredom, cynicism, and burnout. They bring members of a group together, strengthen bonds, and rekindle a sense of a higher calling and noble progress" (p. 113). Some ceremonies and rituals that are common to my school include: beginning of the school year and end of the school year gatherings, recognition of tenure and new hires, a faculty and staff Christmas party, wedding and baby showers, retirements, and funerals. There are also ceremonies and rituals that we have each year for the students. There are three class parties each year- one for Halloween, one right before winter break, one for Valentine's Day. Other holidays sometimes include special events for students. This week the entire school will participate in 15 minutes of reading (at the exact same time) to kick start Read Across America. We also have a 4th and 5th grade competition called "Battle of the Books" to highlight Read Across America. (Dana B.)
  • Celebrations and rituals are very important to the success of a school. They are the glue that hold a school together because they help students, staff and parents feel that they belong. In the examples discussed, Deal & Peterson talk about how the principals in the schools used celebrations to shape the culture of the school. One example was the "Happy New Year Party" that was planned by the faculty. This celebration opened the school year, where new faculty was introduced and accomplishments and milestones were shared(Deal & Peterson, 2009). In my school, we celebrate teacher accomplishments and student accomplishments during a Nine Week Award ceremony. The students are given certificates and tokens to recognize thier achievements. Teachers are recognized for any accomplishments they have received. This is a celebration where the cheering squad and step team perform and parents participate by providing a reception for teachers and students who are being recognized.(Joyce W.)
  • While there has been such a national push for improved standardized test scores and assuring that no matter what 'no child gets left behind', I agree with Deal and Peterson (2009) when they say:
  • More than ever, we need to revive ritual as the spiritual fuel required to energize and breathe life and a deeper sense of purpose back into our schools. Learning is fostered in large part by strong traditions, frequent ritual, authentic celebrations, and poignant ceremonies to reinvigorate cultural cohesion, connect to a higher purpose, and focus on broader educational ends.(p.92)
  • Every Friday, it has been an underlying tradition for staff and students to participate in Spirit Day. The deal for the teachers is if we wear some type of school spirit wear, we can wear jeans for casual Friday. The students have a number of shirts, pants, hats, etc. for the different clubs, sports, and just the school name/mascot in general that they wear especially on Fridays. It creates a positive spirited environment and shows support and excitement for any games or competitions going on that week when we all match and wear our spirit wear.
  • Another tradition along these lines at high schools is holding pep rallys. Pep rallys are held on Fridays and our schedule is adjusted so we have the last hour and a half dedicated to spending time together as a school. Each grade level has their own student-designed tee shirt and color (Freshman-Purple, Soph-Grey, Jr-White, Seniors-Black). Already this year, we've had pep rallys for the beginning of the year (fall sports), Homecoming (another tradition/ritual that includes a couple of ceremonies), winter sports, and we are about to have our spring sport rally. Besides the sports teams being introduced and participating in some type of game or competition for fun, the dance team, some clubs, the cheerleaders, the student government, and staff volunteers all organize and hold silly competitions for spirit points making each grade level a team. Each grade level sits together in their matching shirts and it is always Very loud and Very fun! It's something that we can participate in together for fun and always look forward to! (Meredith)
  • There are many examples of schools ceremonies and rituals common to schools. Schools do not tend to have a beginning of the year party. Most schools celebrate the retirement for teachers and staff. There may be ceremonies and celebrations for holidays, birthdays and even achievements for students and teachers. Ceremonies and rituals can bring people together and strengthen bonds (Bolman & Deal, 2010). Just about anything can be an excuse to have a celebration. (Jessica Compton)
  • Beginnings and endings, like triumphs and tragedies, require some form of symbolic recognition (Bolman & Deal, 2010, p. 113). Most schools celebrate these with Back to School nights in the beginning of the school year and at the end with either Student Award Ceremonies or Graduations. It is important to mark these milestones with celebrations. Throughout the school year there are other ceremonies and rituals that take place. They can be class parties on holidays, dances, orientations and annual plays. These are significant events that take place during the school year that help give a school its identity. (Lisa Miller)
  • Rituals and ceremonies are important to schools because without them organizations become lifeless and sterile (Bolman & Deal, 2010). At my school there are many celebrations to celebrate the success of students and parents. Each month a staff member is recognized by the students as a teacher of the month, and in staff meetings teachers can also recognize fellow teachers. These are both small celebrations, but they help teachers feel that all of their hard work does not go unnoticed. The students also get recognized for their academic achievement through students of the month, and the quarterly STAR student awards ceremony. The STAR assembly is a great ceremony because it is one of the few times that parents are coming onto campus and celebrating the success of their child. All of these ceremonies help to make the school a fun environment to work in. (Julia Civitello)
  • Schools have common ceremonies and rituals that take place at different time and others that happen very close in time depending to what district they belong. Some ceremonies and rituals that are common in most schools are: Beginning and end of the school year, student awards, school anniversary, teacher and employee of the year, school personnel retirement, teacher and staff appreciation week, and volunteers appreciation. Some more informal celebrations are: Birthdays, pregnancies, and weddings. At Pico School, two major ceremonies took place. These were "Fiesta de Pico" and "I'am Just a Great Teacher" (Bolman & Deal, 2010, pp. 101-105). Rituals and ceremonies give continuity to an enjoyable atmosphere around schools. This continuity allows school members to understand how valuable is the school history and how significant are the members of the school. -Niurka Fernandez-
  • Bolman and Deal (2010) state that ceremonies and rituals are events that unify people and bring them together for a common interest. In my school, there are quarterly awards assemblies to acknowledge student excellence. We have an annual Road Run that celebrates the students’ athletic abilities. Our school social committee organizes baby showers, wedding showers, and retirement parties. These parties bring the staff together for a positive cause. My school also assists the community in raising money for Relay For Life. There are certain rituals that we look forward to each year; such as Blue Jeans Friday and Flip-Flop Monday. In Pico School, a retirement party was necessary for people to celebrate Mr. Bailey’s years as the school principal. (Mary Ann)
  • I have only worked at two schools in my 12 year teaching career. However, there are a few rituals and ceremonies that both have shared. Both schools had a "Cheer Committee". The purpose of this committee is to host social gatehrings quartely at the school. They also recognize staff birthdays with some sort of small token and a card. Some other ceremonies and ituals that were present at both schools were celebrations of bitrhs, weddings, and retirements. Some rituals that were common that included the students and their families, were a spirng carnival, open house, character day parade, and dances. (Candy Vetter)
  • I have worked in a few different school districts and there are some similarities when it comes to rituals and ceremonies such as This celebration that opened the school year, where new faculty was introduced and accomplishments and milestones were shared(Deal & Peterson, 2009). In the two districts that I worked in they also celebrated staff birthdays, weddings, babies being born, college graduations, and so on. This committee was called the sunshine committee. There are also celebrations when the students accomplish things such as test scores, honor roll, and attendance. There were also many times that we had activities that included the families, community, and everyone that was a part of the school. (Linda Edwards).
  • There are many celebrations and rituals that are common to schools. At my school, we have a bi-weekly school-wide assembly called Community Circle, and annual Bridge Ceremony for promotion to the next grade, a Winter Holiday Musical Performance, Field Day, and more. Community Circle and the Bridge Ceremony have been two staples of our community since our inception. The Bridge Ceremony is followed by a big family-style barbecue and is the last thing we do before our students go off for the summer. Much like the Fiesta del Pico, schools often have rituals that celebrate achievements of students and teachers and allow the extended school community to eat together and enjoy one another's company. (Nikki Stewart)
  • Ceremonies and rituals that are common in most schools would be assemblies. Usually schools celebrate students success through "Honor Roll" assemblies. There are also community building rituals that might take place weekly in homeroom classrooms. Also, let's not forget about holiday celebrations and rituals. Most schools hold a spirit week, Christmas event, 100th day rituals, Cinco de Mayo, and end of the school year festivities. I have also known of schools that have rituals before state standardized tests begin. These usually are to get students excited about giving their all to do a great job when such tests and the importance of resting and doing well. (Elizabeth Romo)


Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2010). Reframing the path to school leadership (2nd ed.). Retrieved from the University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.

Deal, T. E., & Peterson, K. D. (2009). Shaping school culture: Pitfalls, paradoxes and promises (2nd ed.). Retrieved from the University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.