Saturday, March 16, 2013

welcome to the 21st century

This weekend I am reading a great book, The Leader's Guide to 21st Century Education: 7 Steps for Schools and Districts by Ken Kay and Valerie Greenhill. It's a book that every school & district should read.

A question the book poses on page one is:

"How is your district/school preparing its children for the demands of the 21st century?"

What are these demands?
Students today need to be ready for:

  • 10 to 15 jobs in their lifetime.
  • Complex problems that require complex and creative problem solving.
  • A highly networked world that requires complex and interactive communications skills.
  • Massive amounts of information that require the ability to analyze, synthesize, leverage, and create new and old information.
  • A society in constant flux that requires the need to continuously improve.

The book has broken down how to do this in 7 steps:

  1. Adopt Your Vision
  2. Create a Community Consensus
  3. Align Your System
  4. Build Professional Capacity
  5. Focus Your Curriculum and Assessment
  6. Support Your Teachers
  7. Improve and Innovate
My favorite chapter is chapter 7, Improve and Innovate... because in the 21st century, your work is never done. The final step is simply an opportunity to reflect, revise, and improve. This is a work in progress. We are preparing young people for a world of continuous change and improvement... and those same young people should see that culture modeled for them within their own school.

My favorite quote from The Leader's Guide to 21st Century Education:

"Become a Step 7 organization. Don't be a school or district that is satisfied with teachers and administrators who say, "We do that already." Become a school or district that embraces the question, "How can we do that better?"

Here's a good reality check:

Are you happy to be at Step 7 because you are almost done and can check the 'completed' box? Or are you happy to be at Step 7 because you can now go back and start to refine the other steps - in effect, start all over again?

If you simply want to check the box and complete the project, you're still stuck in the 20th century.

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