Education tailored to fit each child
Helping students reach their fullest potential means providing them an education that meets their diverse needs and fits their individual learning styles. Relying on antiquated, one-size-fits-all models of success does a disservice to students whose creativity, critical thinking, or entrepreneurship could flourish with the right combination of instruction and engagement. I believe the personal plan of progress outlined in the CMS strategic plan for 2018 is a step in the right direction, but we should reposition it as a centerpiece that highlights a child’s achievements and helps guide the decisions they make on their journey as lifetime learners.
Upon graduation, most students will take one of four paths: college, trade school, military, or workforce. Ensuring CMS students are able to excel in college is a noble goal, and one that is necessary, but it only serves a portion of our students. I believe in refocusing our efforts to prepare all students with a practical set of skills that will help them make sound financial choices and informed decisions when choosing their path after high school. If we teach students how to learn, collaborate, and work hard, they will succeed anywhere.
Growth before benchmarks
Balancing the benefits of individualized education with our commitment to statewide and national standards of proficiency is a formidable task. Students experience successes and challenges at different intervals, but skills and knowledge are the tools students accumulate and rely on to surmount bigger challenges and taste even bigger successes. I believe we need to put a greater emphasis on intellectual growth rather than the benchmarks we use as indicators of performance. By encouraging an atmosphere of inquiry and growth, we create an emotionally safe environment where students will welcome mistakes and seek out the skills and knowledge necessary to solve problems as they encounter them — instead of just learning them for a standardized test.
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