There are several non-economic factors that distinguish family-owned schools from those with other ownership structures. One such unique and distinguishing factor is the “Values” held by school owners. Values particular to the Founder or the family-owners often permeate the school’s organization and operation. It is very common that family-owners have a strong desire to infuse their values into the school’s culture, and considerable attention is paid to preserving, celebrating, and perpetuating these values in the life of the school, as an essential facet of the owner’s non-economic investment and legacy.
“The importance of family values as the pillars of the family business’s culture… enabling the company to be differentiated from other enterprises” (Aronoff, 2004).
Often, the dominant role of the Founder of the school, during the entrepreneurial stage of the school’s development, and in subsequent phases, frames a culture within which the inculcation and propagation of the owner’s values become powerful cultural drivers within the school.
This reality has been observed first-hand in several contexts, but never more powerfully than in the DelCampo International School, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. This Consultant had the opportunity to accompany the school’s Founder, Orietta Facusse in the process of articulating the values she holds and seeks to celebrate and propagate in DCIS. One such value, that is self-evident in DCIS’s culture, is the Founder’s passionately-held value of the “essential worth of the individual”.
“At DCIS, we believe that an individual has intrinsic worth, and that this worth is not dependent upon the individual’s ability, intellect, capacity, attributes, or even potential. Rather, we value integral development of the individual, helping and permitting for each individual to reach his/her personal potential” (DCIS Board Policy).
This value drove the Founder, and those in her leadership circle, to develop the DelCampo International Academy, a “school within the school” that provides unique and specialized programs and services permitting students who had never been successful in traditional school programs to succeed and flourish. Development of the “Academy” was a risk and a challenge, considered worthy because of a school culture that firmly values of the essential worth of all individuals.
©2018 David A. Wells, Ed.D.