A high school program of instruction that prepares students for college success requires intentionality and a certain commonality of purpose. The program must be geared toward a clear goal: a level of intellectual and skill development that connects seamlessly with what will be expected of students in college. Therefore, the faculty must have a vision of what a well-educated student looks like after four years of study at their school. This vision of a well-educated student can serve to guide the structure of the academic program and ensure that educational experiences over the four years are intentional and additive from the student's perspective. A good test of the degree to which a school has such a vision framing its instructional program is the number of students who can articulate the vision and describe how their current, previous, and future classes are contributing to achieving it. Few schools have attempted to create this sort of integrated, coherent, intellectually definable and defensible articulation of how a successful student would think, act, and learn after completing the school's program of instruction. (p. 102)
I've blogged before (here and here) expressing my doubts about whether we as a faculty "have a vision of what a well-educated student looks like after four years of study" at AHS. But I think the author makes an important statement when he says "A good test of the degree to which a school has such a vision framing its instructional program is the number of students who can articulate the vision . . ." - emphasis is mine. This goes back to some of the ideas in The Power of Their Ideas book that I excerpted previously. If you randomly stopped 10 students in the hall at AHS, what kind of response do you think you would get to the question "What's Arapahoe's vision and describe how your current, previous, and future classes are contributing to achieving it?"
My opinion is that if we were a great school, not just a good school, at least 8 out of the 10 students (and 9 or 10 on a good day) would give a pretty good answer. Do we not think this vision is important enough to communicate it to our students? Or do we not think they are capable of grasping it? I worry about how many of our staff would answer yes to both of those . . .