Our Mission: "Chrysalis Charter School is a community of kindness, respect, and love of learning which encourages the light within each student to shine brighter."
Our mission statement arose from a literature class taught by Paul Krafel (Mr. Paul) on Ralph Waldo Emerson in the school’s ninth year. As the students read Emerson’s words, Mr. Paul asked them to give voice to the words, not just read them. They did so, with increasing energy, going around the circle until it came back to Mr. Paul. Then he too went around the room, looking each student in their eyes as he recited a quote from Emerson (“Trust thyself.” “Every heart vibrates to that iron string.” “Never intimidate.”), and saw the light within their eyes shining back out at him. Over the next few weeks, the class frequently came back to the idea of “eye shine” and their exultant class call of “My beacon fire is lit!” When these classroom stories were shared with fellow teachers, the phrase, “Encouraging the light within each student to shine brighter,” was developed as a part of a display for Public School Week in the local mall. A month later, the school realized that this was our mission statement.
It is notable that “encouraging the light” emerged in a bottom-up manner over many months in response to the children who are the reason for the school. In fact, this student-centered, bottom-up organization is central to Chrysalis’ identity as a teacher powered school. One of the founding principles of Chrysalis comes from the book, Complexity, by Michael Waldrop: "Use local control instead of global control. Let the behavior emerge from the bottom up, instead of being specified from the top down. And while you're at it, focus on ongoing behavior instead of the final result…. living systems never really settle down." As much as our mission statement is central to who we are, so too is our bottom-up organization.