Thursday, October 18, 2007

21C Vision Discussion

This post is for a discussion we're having today in our staff development. Everyone else is welcome to follow along, of course.

  • Envision our school five years from now. In what significant ways would you like it to be different than it is today?
  • What could we accomplish in the next five years that would make us proud?
  • Describe a school that functions as a model of a professional learning community. What are its key characteristics? How is it functioning?


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  2. Group 8's key ideas:
    Every student would have a laptop

    Smaller class size to match our class concept (one-on-one learning, immediate feedback, revision possibilities, focus on individual improvement)

    Faculty expressing passion about students; students feel valued

    Students have a global understanding/greater empathy; they feel connected to the world outside Arapahoe, Littleton

    Emphasis on critical thinking and reasoning rather than isolated subject matter

    Teachers have more time to collaborate and “to just think,” more time to be creative and inspired; fewer demands to complete administrative tasks
    oMore collaboration between departments—team teaching?

    Funding/reimbursement for more teachers to attend technology/constructivist conferences, especially conferences outside the district, even outside the state—greater rejuvenation and inspiration; opportunity to make connections to other schools

    Online showcase of student projects

    Online courses for grammar, spelling, standardized test weaknesses to help students catch up and to challenge students who are performing well

  3. Fostering the needs of every student in a variety of ways that challenges their abilities as thinkers, artists, athletes, and people.

    Challenge the "physical" plant and restrictions of the calendar and clock by rebuilding the building, the calendar, and the school day.


    More interaction with the real world throguh the use of field trips, speakers, internships, service requirements, vocational opportunities, etc.

    A faculty hockey team!

    Faithfully submitted by Bill Boehm, Jared Rottschafer, Lary Kleeman, and Brad Meyer

  4. Group 2's Big Ideas
    1) Community education.
    2) Mutual support.
    3) No barriers to learning: Bells, classroom, schedules, calendar, department, class size, grade level specific classes.
    4) Collaborative learning environment: teacher 2 teacher, student 2 student, teacher 2 student, community 2 school and school 2 community.
    5) Integrated technology to extend learning opportunities.
    6) Self directed and active learners (as producers not consumers).

  5. Big Ideas from Group 3:

    • Higher teacher salaries and increased funding for public education
    • Smaller class sizes
    • Later start (9am) for optimal adolescent learning
    • Go to a 5 day-a-week classes (modify variable scheduling)
    • Cross-curricular planning and teaching
    • Do not use a bell…teach in “pods” with several teachers to integrate the content
    • Provide internships & more real-life application/insight
    • Don’t lose the personal touch…teach to the whole child
    • Students will be self-reliant, can self-advocate, will be resourceful and independent
    • Students are intrinsically motivated and not so grade oriented. Learning is for learning.
    • What would make us most proud? Undoubtedly getting kids to understand and apply what we are teaching and not regurgitate information.

  6. Group #7:

    Differences from today:

    • Balance of opportunities, participation in many activities, academics, family/friend time and no time (chill time)-balance of TIME-to take intellectual risks-not to be specialized in just ONE thing-don’t over-schedule
    • Shaping character and integrity
    • No busy work-everything is relevant-we back off a bit
    • More of the constructivist teaching approaches-more learning in student’s hands
    • Maintaining a human connection as technology comes to the fold-
    • Reinstate or eliminate the variable schedule

    What Would Make Us Proud:

    • That we continue to seek change and collaborate AND DON’T GIVE UP on our dreams for the school
    • Students can adapt in the real world and that their futures are happy, productive and they are good human beings- WORK and LOVE

    PLC Characteristics:

    • Teachers get together in collaborative groups and share best practices and it enacts change, not for the sake of change, but that change is relevant for the needs of the students.
    • We should be trusted as professionals and people to seek our own path and direction and organize it to function the way the group deems necessary

  7. A lot of our sentiments echoed the sentiments of those expressed by the other groups. In addition to these, we'd like to add our hopes for 21c's future.
    --We strive for big picture teaching. Teaching skills and application instead of facts and knowledge. Also, allowing sutdents to see how these ideas transfer across borders--units, classes, communities, countries. A great way to explore that might be through community service trips to foreign countries for example.
    --It would also make us proud if we could involve more members of this staff and possibly interested teachers in the outside community in what we are doing.
    --In 5 years, we envision our school looking like one big PLC where we develop essential learnings across grades levels and for the whole school as opposed to goals for one department's grade level course.
    --Super sixes: Jesse Craig, Andrea Bradley, Maura Moritz, Lauren Gaffney

  8. Group 4

    Envision our school five years from now. In what significant ways would you like it to be different than it is today?
    o Overhaul our classrooms! We would like our classrooms to be comfortable, wireless, the “garage metaphor” where the environment stimulates creativity
    o We would like tables and comfortable chairs, get rid of the desks!
    o NCLB, AYP and CSAP’s would not be based on age or grade level, but the developmental stage the students’ brain is in.
    o We would like to offer classes beyond the regular school day. So, if a 20 year old is (brain) developmentally not ready to go on to college, they could take classes at night at AHS. Or we offer students who are developmentally ahead of others special classes. In general we are trying to cater to individual needs.
    o Honor kids who are not the AP kids or honors kids; creating career pathways or hands on classes for those that are not the highest achievers.
    • What could we accomplish in the next five years that would make us proud?
    o Sorry we didn’t get to this question!
    • Describe a school that functions as a model of a professional learning community. What are its key characteristics? How is it functioning?
    o Build time into the schedule for teachers to meet in 21C PLC groups so they can discuss constructivist teaching methods, technology and meet with teachers from various content areas
    o We feel 21C needs to remain a voluntary group (the grass roots method has made 21C successful)
    o Perhaps we have a 7 period day, or teach 4 days per week rather than 5 so we teachers have time to meet
    o We need some guidance or leadership but 21C should drive itself
    o We would like the culture of AHS to be collaborative; we would like to bring the students into that