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With election season now in our rear-view mirror, Jeffco Public Schools now turns our attention to the future, and what that means for our schools and community.
In October, we released a vision document for the community to consider. Entitled Jeffco Generations: A Learning-Centered Vision for our Community’s Schools, the document lays out a framework for improving Jeffco’s schools through a focus on three key areas.
First, we must focus on the learning experience of the student. More precisely, this means working to change the student’s experience to not only cover key areas of knowledge, but also to give them the chance to practice important skills which will be essential to their success once they leave our schools. These skills include things such as collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, adapting to new conditions and entrepreneurialism. The big idea here is to create abundant opportunities for students to engage in learning opportunities that have meaning beyond just school and which prepare them for the kinds of difficult and challenging problems they will as adults, citizens, and part of the workforce.
Second, we need to change the conditions for learning. Specifically, Jeffco intends to hold true to a professional model of teaching. This means that we believe teaching is a profession which not everyone can or should do and which requires a lifetime commitment in order to master the art and science of teaching. We also must anchor the conditions for learning against a foundation of high expectations, with a clear and internationally benchmarked curriculum.
Finally, we’ll work to improve the readiness for learning for our students. This includes efforts to expand the capacity and quality of early childhood education options in Jeffco, but also to make sure our kids are able to engage in learning relatively free of hunger, abuse, mental or physical illness, or fear. Students experiencing these are not learning and, as a community, we must work to mitigate them.
So that’s the focus: learning, conditions for learning, and readiness for learning. These are straightforward, unambiguous, and foundational – and they are where we must put our emphasis going forward. They are also intentionally elements behind which our entire community can engage and find common ground to work together. Certainly, there will be specific and technical elements that we will have to navigate, but we will work to keep the main thing the main thing – and that is learning.
I encourage you to join in the conversation on this issue by checking out my blog on all things related to Jeffco Public Schools at www.advancejeffco.blog. You can read the full Jeffco Generations report, as well as access supporting materials, at www.jeffcopublicschools.org/about/generations. You can also jump on our Facebook group to engage with others – just search for Jeffco Generations Conversation, ask to join the group, and jump in the discussion.
On behalf of all of us with Jeffco Public Schools, thank you! We are grateful for the chance to be of service to this wonderful community and its children!
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