Stiepleman announces new district virtues


Info graphic by Sarah Kuhlmann

Ben Kimchi

Trust. Integrity. Collaboration. Transparency. Empathy. Grace. Dr. Peter Stiepleman said the implementation of these six values will guide the school district’s decisions and improve Columbia Public Schools’ (CPS) educational future through a district-wide email Sept. 3.
“Our values guide the way we work together, and they give us a shared image of who we are,” Dr. Stiepleman said. “Values should be established by engaging representatives of every sector of our school district. The long term goal is to have them guide us over the near future.”
Some students, however, said they already receive a similar set of values under the “freedom with responsibility” motto. Junior Madison Polniak appreciates the gesture but believes having set values limit students.
“Part of high school is finding your own identity, it’s freedom with responsibility,” Polniak said. “We each have our own values. These are our own values that we stick to, [so] trying to make us fit into those six values is not a very good idea.”
The incorporation of virtues into CPS will likely be small or completely nonexistent, Polniak said. But junior Joseph Gard believes the proposed values align perfectly for students.
“Trust is a big thing between teachers and students,” Gard said. “The outlining of these ideals could help some people, and it makes the values clear for CPS.”
The values were a product of an Administrative Council meeting Jul. 30, comprised of CPS principals, assistant principals, coordinators, directors, supervisors, administrative assistants, secretaries, custodians, nutrition services, technology technicians and students. A vote by 175 people, the leaders at every level, Dr. Stiepleman said, confirmed the values.
“In 2014 I became the superintendent. At that time I engaged only my Cabinet in our values. It was good work, but it was the work of just six people,” Dr. Stiepleman said. “They were my goals. They weren’t our goals… This time it was an inclusive process. These six values are truly our values.”