What is meant by the civic purpose of school?

In our empirical research (Stemler & Bebell, 2012; Stemler, Bebell, & Sonnabend, 2011), we have found that schools tend to use the following phrases in their mission statement when they are referring the civic development:


Foster responsible citizenship.

Develop educated, caring, responsible world citizens

Develop in students a lifetime pattern of responsible citizenship

Develop students who are responsible, contributing members of their communities

Prepare students to become knowledgeable and reputable members of society


Develop employable citizens

Develop productive citizens in a multicultural, changing society

Prepare students to enter the workforce or pursue post-secondary education as civic-minded adults


Develop global leaders

Develop responsible leaders for the 21st century


Promote social responsibility

Encourage community service

Instill a dedication to service

Below are some examples of how schools highlight the importance of citizenship in their mission statement.

Trion High School; Trion, Georgia

To promote personal growth and leadership development through family and consumer sciences education. Focusing on the multiple roles of family member, wage earner, and community leader, members develop the skills for life through: character development, creative and critical thinking, interpersonal communication, practical knowledge, and vocational preparation.

Chapin High School; Chapin, South Carolina

The mission of Chapin High School of Lexington Richland School District Five, in partnership with the community, is to provide challenging curricula with high expectations for learning that develop productive citizens who can solve problems and contribute to a global society.

Vestavia Hills High School; Vestavia Hills, Alabama

The mission of Vestavia Hills High School, a collaborative learning community with a continuing tradition of excellence, is to cultivate responsible and compassionate shapers of society by fostering personal growth through community service, charter development, and a rigorous, varied curriculum."