A Modern Environment for Learning

Today's students need the schools of tomorrow.

Allen Smith on the Issues - A Modern Environment for Learning

Technology as a tool

The vigorous growth of STEAM fields is unquestionable, but the reality is every field will soon soon be interwoven with science, technology, engineering, art, and math in some way. If we want to equip our children with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in the 21st century, we must help them understand technology’s important role in the world, as well as how to use it effectively and responsibly. It starts with equitable access to things like computers and tablets, but embracing technology is not about simply placing a device in front of a student. It’s a teacher-driven process that will vary from classroom to classroom. Teachers are experts at crafting engaging learning experiences for students; they should have the resources and support they need for exploring new practices that make use of technology and for integrating those practices into their instruction.

Farsighted thinking

Preparing all students for success in the 21st century requires us to think beyond their final year of attendance and recognize the reality that college is not the sole trajectory for prosperity and upward mobility anymore. I believe we need to present our students with every opportunity to experience their options while arming them with the critical thinking skills they need to choose the best path for themselves — be that through college, trade school, the military, or the workforce.

Facilitators of learning

Regardless of their profession, most successful adults share a common passion — lifelong learning. To truly call ourselves a modern school district, we need to make a concerted shift to pedagogical strategies that reframe education as a student-driven quest for understanding where teachers guide exploration, facilitate conversations, and sharpen divergent ideas into shared comprehension. I believe we put too much focus on training students to achieve a particular metric — often at any cost — when we should be working to inspire and motivate them to learn more. Education is not about reaching a destination; it’s about building momentum.

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