The Neosho R-5 community gathered in late March to brainstorm what values they want to see at the core of the school district.

The Neosho R-5 community gathered in late March to brainstorm what values they want to see at the core of the school district.  

On Monday, Kevin Wilson presented the findings from that work session to the Neosho school board during the monthly board meeting.

The focus group of more than 60 Neosho residents, students, school board members, district staff and administrators worked for four hours with moderators Wilson and Howard Birdsong in their March 27 session, and ultimately settled upon five key values.

Wilson said those five values are integrity, excellence, relationships, accountability and respect.

“Core values are those things that do not change,” Wilson said. “Your mission changes, sometimes your vision changes, but your core values are the things that are the innermost inside you that does not change regardless of anything else.”

Wilson said the search for the district’s values began last winter, when he and Birdsong were approached by superintendent Richard Page about finding the needs of the R-5 district.

“From those discussions we talked about what would be the best way to develop those core values and decided we needed to get as wide community involvement as we could,” Wilson said.

To determine those needs, Wilson and Birdsong held the focus group session, then worked to condense all of the community suggestions into five basic values.

“We tried to incorporate as many of the ideas as we could within those core values,” he said.  

Following Monday evening’s presentation, Wilson said the next step is up to the members of the school board.

“The school board has to put their stamp on this and say you know, ‘we agree, this represents the core values of Neosho R-5 school district,’” Wilson said. “If you take the core values and say ‘oh yeah, those are nice’ and you stick them in a book somewhere, you really haven’t done anything. What you need to do is incorporate these core values in everything that you do as a school district.”

Brett Day, board president, said the core values serve as a foundation from which district goals are set. The district plans to discuss goal setting in a July work session.

Chris Parks, board vice president, said he would like to hear feedback from the community on how well the district is implementing those values.  

“To me that would be the natural progression of what this is all about,” Parks said. “We can gauge ourselves, but it really doesn’t matter a lot unless we hear it from the outside.”