"We need to prepare students for their future, not our past."
~ Ian Jukes ~ Writer
Do great teachers inspire great students? They certainly do. And nowhere is this more evident than Clayton Valley Charter High School.
Prior to the opening week of school, our staff participated in a special professional development program hearing from one of the nation's leading experts in education, Dr. Bill Daggett. His system for Effective Instruction and Rigor/Relevance framework is the cornerstone of our 2011 charter conversion. I have been a follower of Dr. Daggett for the past decade and he has been a personal inspiration in shaping my educational philosophy.
Dr. Daggett challenged, inspired, and equipped our entire staff of teachers, administrators, coaches, counselors and community leaders to prepare students for lifelong success. His emphasis was in identifying innovative practices from across the country, ensuring those practices make a positive impact on student learning, sharing those successful practices with educators, and helping schools bring them to scale with professional learning opportunities.
Throughout the presentation, Dr. Daggett highlighted CVCHS as a model school emphasizing our proven "culture of excellence" philosophy - rooted in rigor, relevance, and relationships - and to ensure every student is prepared for college and a successful future.
Here are a few of the key areas of focus shared by Dr. Daggett:
Rigor, Relevance and Relationship for ALL Students
Highly successful schools such as CVCHS have academically rigorous curricula that also incorporate real-world relevance. These schools understand that rigor alone, while essential, is not adequate to lead all students to high levels of achievement. Rather, a high level of application of that knowledge, in what Dr. Daggett refers to as living in "Quadrant D" is critical. Dr. Daggett provided an in-depth look at the Rigor/Relevance Framework as well as Relationships among students, teachers, parents and the community.
Preparing Students to be College and Career Ready
To successfully meet the growing demand to make all students college and career ready, educators must overcome a series of challenges. Schools such as CVCHS have made a fundamental shift in both what is taught and how it will be taught. Students are assessed on standards that are far more rigorous and much more applied than in the past; therefore, teachers will need to match their instruction to those higher levels of rigor and relevance. Dr. Daggett addressed the "why" of the importance of these changes that are required to be made in our education system if our future as a nation can be sustained, the impact they will have on our system of education, curriculum and instruction, and the ways that the nation's most rapidly improving schools have had to make a shift in their instructional delivery in order to meet these challenges successfully.
Creating Future-Focused Schools
The nation's most rapidly improving schools are "future focused." Dr. Daggett provided vivid examples of how successful schools such as CVCHS communicate with parents, community, and staff in our social media environment; adjust their curriculum to address the academic skills and knowledge students will need in our accelerating technological/information-based society and workplace; and deliver instruction in a digital and highly interactive format that is relevant to our youth of today, who will be our leaders of tomorrow.
It truly is a testament of our great school when a nationally recognized expert is spotlighting CVCHS and the tremendous work we are doing in preparing our students for their future through college and career readiness. I consider it a great honor that Dr. Daggett has recognized CVCHS as an exemplary organization and personally invited us to be a partner school in his Successful Practices Network. This is a community of future-focused schools, a team of highly skilled educators who share an interest in and a commitment to doing what's best for students - from the central office to the classroom, networking to share our innovative learning solutions and recommended "best practices". We are at a crossroads where it is critical that experienced educators unite to drive this effort, passionate about the importance of career readiness for students' future success. I'm extremely proud of our staff and our school community for joining me in accepting these challenges and inspiring our students to become self-motivated, competent individuals with a passion for lifelong learning.
Together, we are preparing our students for their future, and not our past . . .