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Superintendent Blog: West Clermont Words

West Clermont Words: Embracing Innovative Learning

embracing-innovative-learning

by Natasha L. Adams

This blog entry is the fourth in a six-part series that focuses on the district’s strategic plan.

According to a 2017 report published by Dell Technologies and authored by the Institute For The Future and a panel of 20 academic, tech and business experts from around the world, 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet.

85%.

And at West Clermont School District, we are taking on the challenge to prepare students to work in jobs that do not exist, to develop questioning skills that will lead to new ideas and solutions for problems that have yet to be identified and to use technology that hasn’t been invented.

This is a complex challenge that involves determination, resilience, calculated risk-taking, understanding our core purpose, and rethinking the way we educate. That is why we collaboratively built a strategic plan that provides a clear path to improve learning in demonstrable ways.

All students need equitable experiences that will prepare them to learn, create and innovate in the new world they are living. One strategic theme of our plan is to Embrace Innovative Learning which means we will implement innovative teaching and learning strategies that make learning more personal and relevant for students utilizing diverse experiences. Students will not only learn foundational literacy, content knowledge and skills (reading, writing and ‘rithmetic) but they will learn how to learn…how to question…how to solve…how to collaborate…how to succeed through failure.

Through a focus on problem-solving and actively applying their knowledge, our learners are being taught to embrace diverse opportunities in order to develop positive academic mindsets, learn core content and skills and then transfer that knowledge to new contexts. This focus on mastering competencies, applying student learning to real-world contexts and completing performance tasks that transfers that knowledge is different from the past of memorizing facts and regurgitating them on a test.

In our middle school mathematics curriculum, most units culminate with a real-world problem that students must solve by applying concepts they learned throughout the unit. For instance, in 6th grade, students apply what they learned about rates and percentages to calculate how long it will take and how much it will cost to complete a painting project. In 8th grade, students apply what they learned about linear relationships to analyze various savings account balances over time.

As students more actively participate, they will take greater charge of their learning in and out of the classroom; they become co-designers of their learning with their teachers. Teachers —in this type of learning environment – develop new skills and abilities and rely on collaboration as essential to their role. They focus on measuring what matters to ensure learning is taking place…and this could be different for each lesson, each project, each student.

And parents play a significant role in the success of the student as well by modeling the importance of lifelong learning and helping their children find their purpose and passion in life. In this new learning model, community partnerships are not stand-alone projects or add-on programs, but should be well integrated with our district’s overall mission and learning goals.

It truly does take a village and I am confident that our small but mighty village here in the West Clermont School District community can and will do so much for each and every student!

Have feedback on what you’ve read?  Let us know!

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