Preparing students for the future

The world is changing every day and as a result, so are the needs of students.

As part of an article for the Jan. 25 edition of The Herald, I tagged along with the city’s Board of Education and superintendent to get a firsthand look at the Shelton Intermediate School’s “School of Innovation.”

While the difference in the style of teaching and learning being implemented within the school  raised some questions, the focus on teaching students skills that are valued by employers was exciting to see.

Upon entering the School of Innovation, which is essentially eight neighboring classrooms within the intermediate school made up of two classes of seventh graders, I saw students enthusiastically collaborating on problem solving-based tasks that encouraged them to think critically.

While the students were excited to be given assignments that required them to come up with strategies for such tasks as building a house of cards while having one of their senses hindered in some way or developing a speaker using a Dorito chip, the question as to when and how well they would perform in such areas as math, science and literacy was on all of the visitors’ minds.

It can be challenging and stressful when you’re attempting when you’re attempting to create something new or change something people are used to, but in some cases the change is much needed.

As 2018 is well underway and the world continues to change rapidly, there’s no better time than now for educators, in any field, to question what has been taught in the past and what they can do to adapt those same lessons to better fit the needs of today.

While some of what is currently being taught in the School of Innovation may seem unconventional, it’s admirable to see educators stepping outside the box and taking a risk to see how they can better prepare students for the future.

As this is the pilot year of the school, it will be interesting to see how the two classes of seventh graders will compare to the classes who are not in the School of Innovation. It will be more interesting to see what the school does to tweak the new curriculum should its students score lower on state exams than the students who are in “regular classes” at the Intermediate School.

It appears be a process that could take years to perfect, but the school’s and district’s latest steps to teach kids about such topics as robotics and life skills is the way of the future for education.

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