The Godfrey-Lee Board of Education adopted the foundation policies of our district 5-year Strategic Design during its regular meeting held this past Monday night. These three policies, revised substantially from policies that were adequate in the 20th Century, are intended to form the basis for all district plans and actions through the next five years.
They include the following policies:
2110 – Statement of Philosophy that lays out a series of four learner concepts to be considered in the design and delivery of learning processes and supports. They are intended to guide the unleashing of creative passions in individuals and teams of learners, sparking innovation for both professional and student learning. These concepts arose from the work of our Human-Centered Design teams during the past two years with financial support from the Steelcase Foundation. Administrators, staff, students, parents, Board members and other stakeholders participated throughout this process.
2131 – Educational Outcomes Goals that establishes the Godfrey-Lee Learner Profile that will help focus all learner activities towards the attainment of the highest possible levels of the “6C” skills: collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creative innovation and confidence. Student achievement of these skills now represent the Board’s highest priority and will form the “why” of learning throughout Godfrey-Lee. The next step is for staff, students, administrators, parents and community members to craft the “how” and the “what” using the design thinking process. Many unique learning activities that have surfaced in our schools the past couple of years have already gotten a start under this process.
2132 – Educational Process Guiding Principles authorize and encourage student and adult learning experiences within a 10-point framework for teaching and learning. These will help inform the “how” and “what” and for the first time embraces risk-taking in the learning process while shifting student and teacher roles more suitable to the technology-rich 21st Century classroom. This policy also reflects the Board’s intent that the human-centered design process will be used to build strengths and address challenges at all levels, be part of adult professional learning, and be used as a critical teaching and learning tool in support of all three of these Strategic Design policies.
Please take time to click on the following link and read over these three short documents. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to talk them over with our administration and staff.
Interestingly enough, a Michigan group has found these same 6Cs to be a very important learning profile for the future of our state. In a just-released publication, Michigan Future Inc. echoes the work of our human-centered design efforts.
Our education policy recommendations are built on two core principles (p. 4):
First, that all children deserve the same education no matter whom their parents are. Without that we cannot live up to the core American value of equal opportunity for all. We are on the opposite track at the moment as both a country and a state.
The second is that none of us have a clue what the jobs and occupations of the future will be. Today’s jobs are not a good indicator of what jobs will be available when today’s K-12 students finish their careers in the 2050s or 2060s. We simply don’t know how smarter and smarter machines are going to change labor markets. So the purpose of pre K-12 education (maybe even pre K-16) is to build foundation skills that allow all Michigan children to have the agility and ability to constantly switch occupations – to be successful rock climbers.
To thrive in the new economy, workers have to be adaptable, have a broad base of knowledge, be creative problem-solvers and be able to communicate and work well with others. In other words, workers need to be really good at all of the non-algorithmic skills computers aren’t good at yet.
The best definition we have found for this complex set of skills comes from the book Becoming Brilliant, by learning scientists Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, who label these skills the six Cs:
• Collaboration, the ability to work and play well with others, which encompasses a wide range of soft skills necessary for success in the modern workplace;
• Communication, the ability to effectively get your point across and back it up with evidence, both verbally and in writing, and the ability to listen and be empathetic;
• Content, deep understanding and a broad base of knowledge in a range of subject areas, rather than simply surface knowledge of reading and math skills;
• Critical Thinking, the ability to sift through mountains of information and get a sense of what’s valuable and not and to solve unanticipated and unpredictable problems;
• Creativity, the ability to put information together in new ways;
• Confidence, which encompasses capacities like grit, perseverance, and a willingness to take risks.
If Michigan is going to be a place with a broad middle class, if employers are going to have the supply of skilled workers they need and if Michigan is going to be a place once again where kids regularly do better than their parents, it will happen because the state made a commitment to provide an education system for all from birth through higher education that builds rigorous broad skills that are the foundation of successful forty-year careers.