a back-to-school kickoff idea

10 words to help you do 2 things…

  1. Close your back-to-school kickoff event in a way that helps your faculty and staff better focus on the big picture reason for their work.
  2. Help your faculty encourage your students to better understand the big picture reason for their education and how it applies to their lives (no matter what grade they’re in).

The words: We’re here to make good things happen for other people.

Here’s how…

Imagine your back-to-school kickoff meeting later this summer. You wrap up everything you and your team want to cover and then you say something similar to the following:

Before we leave today, I want to remind everyone of the big picture … our big picture … why we do what we do. 10 words.

[If you have a slide deck, have the following words on a slide and the pop the slide just as you start saying the words. If you don’t have a slide deck, just roll right into the words.]

We’re here to make good things happen for other people. [Punch the word ’other’.]

This is The Universal Mission Statement. It applies to everyone here and everyone outside of here. Remembering it … and regularly acting on it … are what help us all have better days.

[Short pause.]

We’re here to make good things happen for other people. Our students … our community … and each other.

And I think it’s a message that’s not just for us as educators. I also think it’s something we should share with our students … regularly … helping our students see and connect to the big picture reason for their education … the things you’re teaching them … and the work they’re doing. Again, sharing it with them regularly.

Helping them understand … especially during those difficult times and those difficult classes they may not enjoy because those classes might not be their particular thing … that all of this is about helping them learn...

What’s necessary.
What’s not.

What they love.
What they don’t.

Their strengths.
Their weaknesses.

How to think.
How to communicate.

And how to work.

Helping them put all of that together to eventually contribute something valuable to the world when they become adults … becoming a part of the big team … the community … the us … when their work also becomes making good things happen for other people.

And to help them enjoy that idea … we can remind them that when they bring their verse to the world and make good things happen for other people … they’ll have a better shot at making good things happen for themselves … just like we do. More choices. More fun.

And the added benefit to us in regularly helping our students connect with this Universal Mission Statement might be … that we’re regularly reminded of the same thing.

[Short pause.]

It’s going to be a great year!

Thank you for your attention today and thank you for the work you do.

That could be your conclusion. Or, if you want to help the message stick you could give out a mug or water bottle with The Universal Mission Statement on it and say something like...

On your way out, please grab one of those mugs/water bottles in the back to help you remind yourself to keep making those good things happen this year.

Consider a poster for each classroom or 5 x 7 framed print for added reinforcement.

To make an even more meaningful connection, you could also use a short book like Smile & Move and say…

On your way out, please grab one of those short Smile & Move books in the back. It’s a quick 20-minute read. I think you’ll find it to be inspiring and helpful in remembering how we keep making those good things happen.

At this point, if you have breakout sessions, you and your leadership team could work with your faculty on ideas for how they’ll introduce and discuss The Universal Mission Statement with their students. For those with high school students, consider giving them Cross The Line or 212 books a month or so into the school year as an added boost to reinforcing what it takes to make good things happen.

The ultimate mission statement. Shop Make Good Things Happen.


I’ve asked a lot of people over the years, students and adults, if they can remember anyone sharing with them the big picture reason for their education … why it’s important (beyond the grades and getting to next steps).

Almost no one can.

That doesn’t mean no one has or does. But, I’d bet it’s the exception rather than something that’s regularly instilled … weekly at a minimum.

We all know the need for solid and ongoing reinforcement never (ever, ever, ever) ends. (It's a big part of  Leading Simply).

I can’t think of a more important message to introduce early and cultivate continually.

We’re here to make good things happen for other people. We do that, everything works.

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