Four Areas of Intentional Excellence: Identity, Mission, Purpose, and Vision

Baruit Kafele was one of the keynote presenters at the National Dropout Prevention Center’s (NDPC) Annual At-Risk Youth Forum and as always he came there “on fire!”

Princpal Kafele has been presenting nationally and internationally since 2011, as well as authoring Closing The Attitude Gap, The Principal 50 and The Teacher 50.  His message is always one that encourages educators to make connections with students, have high expectations, and to lead them to success.

At this gathering of educators who specialize in working with at-risk students, Kafele offered a particular message for the uniqueness of the group.   “Develop an intentionality for excellence,” Kafele said in his opening.  “Take charge of your actions and be intentional in what you do.”

Principal Kafele offered four areas that educators working with at-risk students should be intentional in.  They are;

  1. Identity;
  2. Mission;
  3. Purpose;
  4. Vision

Students need to know what it is that we have to offer them.  They need to know who we are and what role we intend to play in their lives.  Our identity needs to be intentional and consistent for them to be interested in what we have to offer.

Just as our identity matters and needs to intentional, so does our mission.   Kafele describes our mission as the what  we’re trying to do.  As educators we need to be aware of our mission. What is it that we are seeking to do?  Give students hope?  Open doors of opportunities?  We need to be clear and intentional in what we do lest we wander around without focus.

As mission defines what we do, purpose serves as the why behind our actions.  You know you want to help at-risk students.  Why?  You’re on a mission, but it needs to be a purposeful mission.  Understand the why.


Finally, the fourth intent of the at-risk specialist is vision.  Vision is what you are able to see your students as in the future.  Again, Principal Kafele is clear here:  be intentional in your vision.  Set out to see what your students can be.  If you give them vision, you can give them hope and that can make the difference.

How does it all look like when it comes together?  Principal Kafele suggests that it’s about the experience.  When the teacher provides intent with her identity, mission, purpose and vision, and does so inside a school experience that provides magic and moments, unforgettable things happen.

Check out Principal Kafele at  or on Twitter @PrincipalKafele

#Leadership365  /54

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