This year the new entry seems to be 21st Century Skills. But schools are not adopting that effort as a replacement to improving literacy or numeracy--or just coming online science and/or social studies testing. They are not side-lining common core standards or dropping their new anti-bullying program to work on Innovation and Collaboration. 21st Century Skills, the PD associated with it, the time committed to it in classrooms, the effort to assess whether the skills are being taught or not is not being done in lieu of the dozens of other initiatives schools have adopted over the years. It is just being added--some might say "piled"--on.
The big question is: Is this sustainable? All the programs are good programs. All the skills--from traditional literacy skills to the more avant guarde communication--seem critical to teach if our students are to be successful. But where will already breathless educators find the stamina to keep up this pace? One answer is from the students themselves. Not just as inspiration for doing whatever it takes, but also as partners in the effort. That's a goal I have for this year: Helping the schools I support develop deeper and fuller partnerships between teachers and students.
What's new at your school?