Dream it. Wish it. Do it!
As January’s icy grip takes hold, there are several things that we have come to expect. As Chicagoans we are preparing for at least another eight weeks of winter. We also know that in January our gyms will be packed as will the health food aisle at our grocery store. Finally, as we pass the start of the year we can begin counting the days to spring training and another winning season for the CUBS! Along with shorter days, we can also expect those around us to make New Year’s resolutions.
Our district is a learning organization that follows a model of continuous improvement. As such, there are several ways we are looking to improve our students’ experiences and become a better school system in 2017. Below are some predictions for what 2017 has in store for our schools.
- Focus on a growth mindset – True learning occurs when we struggle with tough problems and feel success after learning from failure. As we look to ensure that our students have the skills they need to succeed both in and out of the classroom, we need to give kids these opportunities. Learning to be resilient and persist when the going gets tough is something you can expect to hear more about in 2017.
- Responsible implementation of new technology – We are preparing kids for their future, not our past. As such, we need to expose our students to new technology tools. This means giving kids opportunities to collaborate with one another in new ways. We will also seek to give students new ways to be creative and think critically through the use of new technology. However, this doesn’t mean we abandon proven teaching methodologies. We need to ensure we achieve a balance while implementing these new technologies.
- Experimentation with new learning spaces – As new research emerges on how learning spaces improves student and teacher productivity and encourages collaboration and communication, we will be looking at ways to use our spaces flexibly. We will be researching the best way to meet our students’ needs through flexible learning spaces that can be arranged in ways to best serve our students.
- Improved professional development for teachers – To achieve greatness in the classroom, our teachers need support. We will work with staff to ensure that our teachers have professional development experiences that will help move the needle for our students.
- A long-range strategic plan – For the better part of this school year, we have been working with a committee of teachers, parents, students, board members, and community members to create a plan to move our district from great to greater. We are excited to put this plan in place in 2017!
These are just a few of the exciting ways we will move our district from great to greater and make our schools places kids love to learn and teachers love to teach. As with any New Year’s resolution, we are exhilarated by the prospect of a wonderful new year!