Our local school system, Jeffco Public Schools, has begun a strategic planning process starting with a four month visioning exercise called Vision 2020. I feel very fortunate that I am leading a Performing Arts advocacy group and that we have been asked to help with the work over the next four months. There are 65 community members involved covering a wide spectrum of the community. The members include representatives of businesses, groups like mine, chambers of commerce, higher education, teachers, students, and people representing other areas of the community.
The work is critical. We are trying to identify what competencies a student should have when they graduate, and subsequently, what the school system needs to provide to enable students to have these competencies. It’s far more complicated than reading, writing, and arithmetic. It’s far more complicated than being able to test well, or learn to the test. Rather, we are looking at the global community and assessing what our students need to be able to do. For example, they need to be able to think critically, to take in and efficiently process dynamic information, to be self starters, to be able to relate to a diverse community, and the list goes on and on. Of course, reading, writing, and arithmetic are also critical, but if a student has the aforementioned competencies, shouldn’t the reading, writing, and arithmetic almost come automatically?
It’s going to be a fun journey and the work couldn’t be more important. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.