At Pinnacle, ten core values represent our overarching beliefs, and the core of our teaching. Values provide the context for how we make decisions and operate our school, as well as the values we intend to instill in our students. Values enable us, as individuals, to live, be successful and achieve happiness. At Pinnacle, our values enable us to achieve our mission and purpose.
These ten values are consistent with one another and integrated into a sound framework of staff and student character, judgment, success and happiness. To fully act on one of these values, one must also act consistently with the other values. Our focus on values grows from our belief that ideas matter and that an individual’s character is of critical significance.
Our values are integrated into not only how we operate, but into what we teach.
With regard to character, honesty is the bedrock value. Without honesty there is no trust. Without trust there is no organizational or societal growth, because there are no relationships. Honesty is not relative; rather, it is an absolute value. Integrity is about living out honesty and other values on a consistent basis.
Being honest is simply being consistent with reality. To be dishonest is to be in conflict with reality, which is self-defeating. A primary reason individuals fail is because they become disconnected from reality, pretending that facts are other than they are. To be honest does not require that we know everything. However, we must be responsible for saying what we mean and meaning what we say.
Because we have developed our principles logically, based on reality, we will always act consistently with our principles. Regardless of the short-term benefits, acting inconsistently with our principles is to our long-term detriment. We do not, therefore, believe in compromising our principles in any situation. Principles provide carefully thought-out concepts that will lead to our long-term success and happiness. Violating our principles will always lead to failure.
Judgment is about thinking clearly and making rational decisions for yourself. It is about dealing with the facts, the reality. This means exploring the facts yourself, not basing your decisions on public opinion. It’s about taking the facts and the appropriate time to use reason and having the courage to make independent decisions. Independent thinking supports sound judgment, personal responsibility, and creativity.
What is, is. If we want to be better, we must act within the context of reality (the facts). Businesses and individuals often make serious mistakes by making decisions based on what they “wish was so” or based on theories that are disconnected from reality. The foundation for quality decision-making is a careful understanding of the facts.
All students are challenged to use their minds to the optimum to make rational decisions. In this context, each of us is responsible for what we do and who we are. While we learn a great deal from each other and teamwork is important at Pinnacle, each of us thinks alone. Each of us must be willing to make an independent judgment of the facts based on our capacity to think logically. Just because the “crowd” says it is so, does not make it so. Each of us is responsible for our own actions and personal success or failure. In addition, creativity is strongly encouraged and only possible with independent thought.
Creativity is not about just doing something differently. It is about doing something better. To be better, the new method/process must be judged by its impact on the whole organization and whether it contributes to the accomplishment of our mission. There is an infinite opportunity for each of us to do whatever we do better. A significant aspect of self-fulfillment, which work can provide, comes from creative thought and action.
Clear thinking is not automatic. It requires intellectual discipline and begins with sound premises based on observed facts. We must be able to draw (and teach to draw) general conclusions in a rational manner from specific examples (induction) and apply general principles to the solution of specific problems (deduction). We must be able to think (and teach to think) in an integrated way to avoid logical contradictions. We cannot all be geniuses, but each of us can develop mental habits to ensure that when making decisions we carefully examine the facts and think logically without contradiction in deriving a conclusion. We must learn to think in terms of what is essential (i.e., about what is important). Rational thinking is a learned skill that requires mental focus and a fundamental commitment to improving the clarity of our mental processes.
Success is about productivity, working together as a team, and a sense of justice. We value individuals who will produce at an individual level. Success is about the commitment to get the job done and doing what needs to be done. It’s about going beyond the call of duty. We also recognize that individuals often accomplish results working with and through others, through teamwork. Successful individuals support their team and fellow associates to ensure the team accomplishes all it can. In a free enterprise system, and a capitalistic society, we believe justice should prevail. Those who produce the most should earn the most.
PCA is committed to producing thoughtful students, who in turn are productive individuals. The tangible evidence of our productivity in the short term is student performance in various testing and achievement models, and in the long term, success in college and career.
It is through the long term productivity of our alumni, their success in life, that Pinnacle will ultimately be judged. Our mission is dedicated to producing the mental resources necessary for our students to become productive individuals, thus successful in their lives and careers.
Individuals should be evaluated and rewarded objectively (for better or worse) based on their contributions toward accomplishing our mission and adherence to our values. Employees who contribute the most should receive the most; just as students who achieve the most should receive the highest academic awards.
If we do not reward those who contribute the most, they will leave, and our organization will be less successful. More importantly, if there is no reward for superior performance, the average person will not be motivated to maximize his productivity.
In evaluating other people, it is critical that we judge based on essentials. At Pinnacle we do not discriminate based on nonessentials such as race, gender, nationality, etc. We respect individuals and value the diversity of their backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. We do discriminate based on competency, performance and character. We consciously reject egalitarianism and collectivism. Individuals must be judged individually based on their personal merits, not their membership in any group.
While independent thought and strong personal goals are critically important, our work is accomplished within teams. Each of us must consistently act to achieve the agreed-upon objectives of the team, with respect for other facility, while acting in a mutually supportive manner.
Our work at Pinnacle is complex and requires an integrated effort among many people to accomplish important tasks. While we are looking for self-motivated and independent thinking administrators, faculty and staff, these individuals must recognize that almost nothing at Pinnacle can be accomplished without the help of their team members. One of the responsibilities of leadership in our organization is to ensure individuals are rewarded based on their contributions to the success of the total team. We need outstanding individuals working together to create an outstanding team.
While good character and sound judgment typically lead to success, ultimately, most of us are searching for a sense of happiness for those we care about and ourselves. Happiness is the result of finding a purpose in life that drives us to be passionate about its accomplishment. We search for the answer to the key question in life, which is “why am I here?” When we find clarity about our purpose, we begin to see the answer to this life-changing question.
Happiness, then, is about a sense of self-esteem and pride in how we live our lives. Self-esteem is our internal value or intrinsic scorecard of how we live our lives. When we seize opportunities to take action and do the right things to accomplish our purpose, we earn positive self-esteem. We take pride in our success, accomplishments and how we live life. By developing positive self-esteem and taking pride in our work, accomplishments, and life, we can ultimately achieve happiness, and teach our students how to achieve happiness in their lives.
We expect our faculty and staff to develop positive self-esteem from performing their work well. We want individuals who have strong personal goals aligned with a clear purpose and who expect to accomplish their goals within the context of our mission.
A necessary attribute for self-esteem is self-motivation. We have a strong work ethic. We believe that you receive from your work in proportion to how much you contribute. Although there are many trade-offs in the context of life, our faculty and staff need to be clear that Pinnacle is the best place, all things considered, to work to accomplish long-term goals. Individuals are motivated by a dynamic and integrated set of physiological safety, social interaction, self-esteem, and self-actualization needs. We strive to create an environment where our associates have a substantial amount of their needs met while helping accomplish the PCA mission (i.e., they are motivated by their work). When this occurs, our faculty and staff can be more productive and achieve their personal goals as well as their students.
Pride is the psychological reward we earn from living by our values, performing meaningful work, and accomplishing positive results. We take pride in helping our students achieve success. Sharing knowledge is important work. We believe in celebrating our successes. Each of us must perform our work in a manner such that we can be justly proud of what we have accomplished. High achievers commit fully to this end. Pinnacle must be the kind of organization with which each employee, student and parent can be proud to be affiliated.