Deanne Meadows, Superintendent
910-642-5168 x 24049
We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist … using technologies that haven’t been invented … in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”—Richard Riley, former Secretary of Education
I often think of this quote, but especially at the start of a new school year. We begin this year fully recovered from the pandemic and free from the disruptions and obstacles that have occurred constantly over the past many months. We have struggled and fought our way through difficult times for our schools, students and families, and we are excited to begin this year with a focus on preparing our students for the future.
Our world is changing at a rate that would have seemed unimaginable just twenty years ago, or ten years ago, or even before the pandemic. Schools must change too if we are to help students maximize their potential, and become prepared for success in school, work and life. The world that today’s students will inherit is very difficult to predict in its requirements for successful careers and lives, but there are some things upon which many experts agree. Basic skills are important, but they are just the beginning. In a world where information is at the fingertips of every single person, simply knowing information is no longer enough to achieve success.
Tomorrow’s adults will need the ability to analyze information, and assess it for accuracy and relevancy, and will also need the ability to think critically and creatively, and have the capability to take information and make connections, draw conclusions, and create new ideas. They will need to be effective communicators, be persistent, and have the ability to collaborate and be an effective part of a team. Future adults will need the ability to cope with uncertainty, to be agile thinkers and, now more than ever, will need the ability to use technology as a means to communicate, analyze and fully participate in a digital world that is constantly shifting, expanding and changing. Technology will be essential as our children navigate careers and lives, and the last two years have only served to accelerate the role of technology in our world.
The question that we all must answer is, how do we prepare students for this dynamic but uncertain future that is impossible to predict?
The focus of much of our instructional efforts coming out of the pandemic has been on “Blended Learning”. Blended learning has many facets, but at its core it combines technology with teacher-led instruction to create learning activities that are more personalized, more collaborative and provides students with more choices regarding how to learn concepts and demonstrate mastery. Effective blended learning looks more like a modern workplace than a classroom, and this is by design. We can help prepare our students for the future by providing them with opportunities to thrive in a technology-rich environment similar to what they will experience after graduation. We can also give them real-world experiences that tie to careers that will exist now and in the future. Our Teacher Cadet program will promote students entering an education career; this will strengthen our schools and our communities. We have added courses in HVAC, Fire Safety and Technology. Our strong arts programs, athletic programs and extracurricular activities help develop skills that were once considered “extra” but current research tells us that skills learned in these areas are essential to success in the future.
We believe that the best way to prepare for a rapidly changing world is to utilize every possible opportunity to cultivate the individual talents of students and ensure our students reach their full potential in every way possible. We have the best schools and the best people who wake up every morning ready to meet this awesome challenge for all of our children. We ask for your support and assistance as we prepare our students for a world that exists today, tomorrow and in the future.
Dr. Deanne Meadows