Shared Identity

Shared Identity is the cohesive embodiment of a community’s values, beliefs, and understandings, uniting all students, families, staff, and the wider community. It revolves around a common purpose, encompassing holistic student outcomes and shapes classroom and schoolwide structures and practices, fostering a collective sense of belonging and purposeful growth.

Statements Depicting the Ideal Pursuit of a School

  • The shared identity reflects the values, beliefs, and understandings of our entire community.
  • It includes a clear sense of purpose, specifically a holistic set of outcomes for all students.
  • Embraced by all students, families, staff, and the community, the shared identity is well-known.
  • This identity informs classroom and schoolwide structures and practices.

Points of Emphasis

  • Effective schools know who they are. They share values, beliefs, and mental models. Their identity speaks to and is shared by all in the community – families, students, community members and staff. 
  • A strong shared identity will help create a strong culture and climate.
  • Shared identity allows schools to be highly effective in reaching and teaching all students.

Key Resources


“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”

Maya Angelou

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

John F. Kennedy

Reflection Prompts

  • What might be possible ways, even if they were unintentional, that staff, students, and/or families could feel their values and beliefs were not included in a school’s identity?
  • What groups do you have in your school that may not feel connected or valued?
  • What might be some ways to incorporate the voice of school/community groups who do not feel included to increase their sense of belonging?
  • You run into a key stakeholder “in an elevator.” This person asks, “I heard you are working on creating your school identity that tells who you are as a school and what you are all about.  Can you tell me more about this?” Prepare and practice an informative and concise response which you can deliver in 60 seconds or less. Try out your ideas by filling in the sentence frames: Our initiative is about… and… It is important because our students… We need to change because…  When we are successful… What we need from the staff….from the students…from the families…from all of us together…

All Toolkit Resource for Shared Identity

Additional Resources