Today’s world moves quickly, and it can be overwhelming to think about learning five years from now. Because of this, it is easy for schools to get caught in the trap of working one hour, one day or one week ahead instead of having a vision for the next five years. The schools in this community have made incredible strides over the past few years increasing the number of kids earning high school credit while still at the middle school, providing students opportunities to build presentation literacy skills with adult audiences, growing the passion of students to advocate for causes in their community and beyond, and supporting the work of teachers to build physically and emotionally healthy kids.
Over the next five years, I hope that the schools in this community continue to build a more personalized learning environment that provides opportunities for kids to dig deeply into areas of learning in which they are passionate. I also hope that they are better able to target specific areas of growth for individual students and support them as they grow more successful in these areas. In addition to these elements of personalization, opportunities should be developed for students to make and create in excellent learning spaces. More and more adults are taking their hobbies, ideas, and interests and creating small businesses; building this same entrepreneurial spirit in the children of our community is essential.
Schools, communities, and those interested in education are starting to see that the best practices in education are shifting to a more integrated, project-based, experiential learning model, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t external pressure to mold schools into thinly veiled testing factories that are schools in name only. Our community has incredible trust in its schools to not bow to these external pressures and maintain best practices. The vision of the best schools in the country surrounds implementing high-level project-based learning that melds together subjects, providing a learning environment that mirrors excellent work places, and offering students an opportunity to be experts and contributors to society, and we should expect the same excellence for the next five years and beyond.
The TED talk below continues to frame some of these ideas.