This article reports findings from a study of graduate level, educational leadership students’ familiarity with shared mission, vision, values, and goals statements and the perceived impact these concepts have on their practice as leaders and teachers in schools. The study is primarily qualitative and uses content analysis of responses to open-ended questions. Researchers adopted a limited quantitative analysis technique, however, in order to report frequency of responses to survey questions. We used the literature base regarding strategic planning and school improvement as conceptual frameworks to guide the analysis. Findings revealed that educational leadership students had limited ability to recall the content of key organizational statements. Further, respondents reported that these key organizational statements had only minimal impact on their daily practice. Implications are presented for university preparation programs designed to equip school leaders to effect meaningful school improvement and organizational change centered on development of shared mission and vision for improvement. This research confirms similar findings reported by Watkins and McCaw (Natl Forum Educ Adm Superv J 24(3):71–91, 2007) and adds to the research by exploring respondents’ reports of the impact of mission, vision, values, and goals statements on their daily practice. It further extends the discussion by presenting a content analysis of key organizational statements, comparing mission, vision, values, and goals statements to models of strategic planning and planning for continuous school improvement from the organizational improvement literature.