The goal of a world class education is to prepare students for the college or career path of their choice
Challenged by authors like Marc Prensky, Tony Wagner and Yong Zhao, Douglas County School District aspires to provide a world class education for all students. We believe our students are the future leaders of this country and perhaps the world. We want to prepare them to compete on the world stage for any college or career of their choice.
Or as Tony Wagner says, “…we want our students to be college, career and citizenship ready for the 21st century.”
What this means in education is that we must reinvent our curriculum – the knowledge and skills we teach our students, and the outcomes. We must reinvent our assessment systems, as well as the assessments themselves. We must reinvent our instructional strategies to make sure that learning sticks, or is sustainable, and engages all students deeply. We also know that in order to reimagine and reinvent teaching, learning and leading for the 21st century, we must align all support systems with this work.
DCSD started reinventing its curriculum in 2012. We did so by examining the academic rigor and cognitive complexity of Colorado state standards, common core academic standards and national standards against what we know our students will need for success in their lifetimes. We found that most standards are written at lower level thinking skills or lower level cognitive complexity. We also found that most standards are isolated fragments of learning disconnected from higher, more important concepts and skills. This is not best for our students.
Therefore, after reviewing the knowledge and skills most desired by today’s businesses and employers, our teachers worked to integrate the state and national standards to create a foundation or curricular floor. Next, teachers raised the cognitive complexity of our new World Class Outcomes, so that these integrated standards required higher order thinking skills and were aligned to the knowledge and skills our “end-users” desire most.
The newly invented DCSD World Class Outcomes coupled with EdLeader 21’s four Cs (creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking), key content, and 21st century skills that are taught where they make sense, compose the DCSD Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum (GVC) for the 21st century. While this is an excellent step forward, it is incomplete without the accompanying quality assessments that measure student mastery of the GVC.
This work is found under our System Performance priority.
DCSD has also created and integrated expectations for World Class Instructional Practices. These include choosing higher order thinking strategies that are at the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy, engaging digital native students via a focus on student voice and choice, personalizing learning strategies that are relevant and rigorous, and integrating world class tools.
Achieving sustainable learning for the 21st century
-Preparing students to compete on a world stage for jobs that require a high level of creativity and innovation