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Advancing Student Learning into the New Year

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District 59 Families,

On behalf of the CCSD59 Board of Education and staff, I would like to welcome everyone back from winter break. I hope that each of you had the opportunity to enjoy your time with friends and family.

The purpose of this communication is to highlight the important work we are engaging with students and staff. As you may know, our mission is to prepare students to be successful for life in the 21st century. As Dr. Tony Wagner of Harvard University notes, there is a significant achievement gap in this country. The gap is between what even our country’s very best schools are teaching and testing versus what all students will need to be successful in today’s globally interconnected, technology infused, information rich economy. New educational paradigms require an emphasis on application of skill, knowledge, and content utilizing critical thinking, collaborative problem-solving, creativity, and innovation. For more about how we can engage this type of modern learning, I would highly recommend reading Dr. Wagner’s most recent book, Most Likely to Succeed.

As we progress through the school year, training and planning will continue to focus on the following movements in education:

  • Further developing a standards-based curriculum with an increased focus on application of what students know and can do.
  • Instructional strategies and methods of feedback that shift the focus to application and learning mastery.
  • Project and inquiry-based learning environments that emphasize greater student agency and active application of more cognitively-complex thinking, communication, and collaboration skills.
  • Digital computing initiatives that give students powerful digital learning devices and access to the world’s information, individuals, and organizations.
  • The expansion of digital and online content and information resources that increase the availability of higher and deeper learning opportunities.
  • Problem-based learning experiences that foster students’ ability to engage in authentic, real-world work.

As students and staff master the application of skill, knowledge, and content in a real world context, there is little doubt that students will truly understand what it means to be a life long learners, capable of pursuing learning interests, developing passions, and preparing students for every phase of life.

We look forward to continuing to share our progress in the months ahead, and we hope everyone has an excellent January. Once again, on behalf of the CCSD59 Board of Education and staff, welcome back.

Dr. Fessler
Superintendent of Schools

 

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