Schools Alive With Possibility

Spark Trader Limited Reports:

Community agreement
Before and even during the pandemic, communities around the world adopted new learning goals to more fully express the knowledge, skills and character that contribute to purposeful citizenship.
“Social and emotional skills are an important development outcome in their own right,” says the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) first international survey of social and emotional skills. The ability of citizens to adapt, to be resourceful, to respect others, to cooperate with others and to take individual and collective responsibility is increasingly becoming the hallmarks of a well-functioning society. Skills such as cooperation, empathy and tolerance are key for citizens and countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and effectively engage and promote democratic institutions.”
As CASEL suggests, more and more systems are promoting social and emotional learning and trying to track growth while avoiding using early measures in the old accountability system.
Learning goals are increasingly guided by science-based, whole-child design principles that include enriching learning experiences, developing relationships, and comprehensive support.
An example of a regional community agreement on rich learning experiences is Kansas City, which aims to empower all 100,000 high school students to benefit from community-related projects, internships, and entrepreneurial experiences (see case study).


In terms of comprehensive support, Hyland Public Schools shares a commitment that every student knows their name, strengths and needs, and that graduates are prepared for the future they choose.
Cajon Valley USD serves different East San Diego Counties with a complete children’s principles and a mission of “happy kids, healthy relationships, and a path to gainful employment.”
In Redefining Student Success: Building A New Vision for Transformational Leadership, Teaching, and Learning, Ken Kay and Suzy Bose emphasize the importance of creative problem solving, inviting students to take on society’s greatest challenges while fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.
Connect to learn
After shedding light on inequality, the pandemic accelerated connected learning — technology that makes it possible to mix learning with more home devices and better broadband access. And, despite the challenges in distance learning, interest in active learning — inquiry-driven, project-based, often community-connected experiences — continues to grow.
In Kansas City, 75 high schools in 31 systems are adding more # Real-world learning, including internships, community connection programs, and entrepreneurial experiences (see case study).
The NATIONAL CAPS Network is affiliated with 123 school districts and is dedicated to real world and project-based professional learning strategies through collaboration with business and community partners. They promote exploration and self-discovery, while developing professional skills and entrepreneurial thinking.
The George Lucas Educational Foundation describes the trend as “real, challenging, positive and relevant learning experiences.” They point to a growing body of research showing that project-based learning is an important lever for young people to build institutions, acquire knowledge, and make academic progress faster and more sustainably.
In The Power of Place, we describe these community-related learning strategies as learner-centered, inquiry-based, interdisciplinary, and community as a classroom, design thinking, and local to global context.

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