District strategizes about 21st century teaching | SummitDaily.com

District strategizes about 21st century teaching

LORY POUNDERsummit daily newsSummit County, CO Colorado

FRISCO – As Summit District Board of Education continued conversations about 21st century learning at a recent retreat, the focus became curriculum.Basically, the questions board members asked is, “How do we boil down curriculum based on what’s essential for students?” and “Does that mean taking it from 80 facts to eight concepts?”The board feels a more in-depth study of a few important concepts is what students entering the global, competitive world need, versus the more traditional method of surveying a broad spectrum of topics.”I think we’re trying to look more at innovation, a more thoughtful approach,” said Vice President Christine Scanlan, who added that the concepts need to be comprehensive and building each year from kindergarten through 12th grade.For the past couple years, teachers have been looking at “Essential Learning Outcomes” – the most important concepts for students to learn to be successful in this century. Harold Pratt, president of Education Consultants, Inc., and Rodger W. Bybee, executive director of Biological Sciences Curriculum Study in Colorado Springs, helped facilitate the school board’s June conversations. The concepts chosen need to be fundamentals the students can expand each year, Pratt said. He gave the example of CSAP scores in one district that did this in science.When the teachers taught essential concepts, the students scores soared above what they used to be, he said.Also Bybee said “preparing students for college and the workforce should not be two different things” when the board looks at changes. A level of skills equivalent to two years of college will be needed for the workforce, he added. Going to work after grade 12 is “yesterday’s news.”Pratt and Bybee said the school board should be looking at the goals and outcome first, then the policy for what they want in place, third is the curriculum and, lastly, putting it into practice. Now, the board directors are hoping continue these conversations, give direction to curriculum teams, gather teacher support, work with outside experts and take learning to the next level that looks at the future and determines how to better prepare students for it.Board Director Jon Kreamelmeyer commented that involving teachers in conversations about curriculum is essential. “We need to ask teachers, ‘What do you need that will make you a better teacher,'” he said at the retreat.Lory Pounder can be reached at (970) 668-4628, or at lpounder@summitdaily.com.

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