Why Schools Need to Change
Why Schools Need to Change

Today’s learners face an uncertain present and a rapidly changing future that demand far different skills and knowledge than were needed in the 20th century. We also know so much more about enabling deep, powerful learning than we ever did before. Our collective future depends on how well young people prepare for the challenges and opportunities of 21st-century life.

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At a community forum in Bullitt County, KY, participants explored a new vision for learning and student success.

Designing learning that is relevant to students’ lives, both now and for their futures, is a goal for many forward-thinking educators. It was certainly a central theme at a community forum hosted by the Bullitt County Schools Strategic Advisory Team on April 29, 2019, in Shepherdsville, KY. At the event, which included a webinar by NGLC director Andy Calkins, superintendent of schools Jesse Bacon and guests led community participants in an exploration of the challenges facing today’s learners and the schools who serve them.

Andy shared with the community the ways the world is changing and the complex work/learn landscape young people must navigate. Preparing Bullitt’s “apprentice adults” for success, Andy pointed out, requires more than transmitting traditional content knowledge. It calls for authentic and relevant learning that is aligned to a broad set of skills, habits, and capabilities, like those expressed in the NGLC MyWays Student Success Framework.

To develop real-world abilities like self-direction, setting goals, problem solving, and creating personal roadmaps through life, learners need to have opportunities to make choices and exercise agency in directing their own learning. That is why Bullitt County Schools’ vision for reimagining learning is starting with a focus on students and their voices as key elements in the change process.

Participants in the forum engaged in a SWOT analysis, suggesting and discussing the district’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. “Every community in the country should be having conversations like this one,” Andy said afterwards. “It’s only through asking these questions, and genuinely listening in the ensuing discussion, that communities are moving toward better learning experiences and outcomes for their kids.”

Learn more about the “big questions” that drive learning transformation and how members of the NGLC community are answering them on the NGLC MyWays website.

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