The 1st Annual STC e2e (Education to Employment) Symposium on October 26, 2013 launched several important opportunities to advance making progress in closing the achievement gap.
In addition it was a great networking opportunity. Here are a few pictures of participants. You can also view the Facebook scrapbook and maybe see your picture.
The STC 2013 e2e Symposium was attended by a cross section of 45 thought leaders from urban schools, industry, foundations, universities, and government, hereafter referred to as “the group.”
The facilitators, Roel Uleners of XPlane and David Stephen of New Vista Design utilized effective design learning techniques that engaged everyone in the room. By dividing the room into various small teams of five (first by industry sector and then mixed) they optimized participation and outcomes coming from thought leaders in the room. The result is the hopeful beginning of laying a foundation towards on the ground initiatives that “Accelerate the teaching of 21st Century skills leading to jobs of the future.”
Here is a brief overview of examples of tangible results:
By taking the group through exercises such as “identify what characteristics make up 21st century skills” and “imagine what a school of the future looks like” we not only experienced thoughtful and creative team approaches, we also laid the foundation for creating initiatives around these aspirational presentations.
Roel is working on identifying six initiatives that reflect what the teams were saying. He believes there is overlap that can be merged into six coherent initiatives that can move the envelope. We hope to propose these initiatives to the group shortly and ask each participant’s interest to stay connected and take part in a study team of one initiative of each participant’s choice. This is a great way to stay connected and make progress on the enormous challenge we came to West Point to do something about.
Here is a potential example of two initiatives which have not be confirmed yet. We welcome your feedback on these even before we confirm the six initiatives.
1. REPORT CARD AND BUDDY SYSTEM
Create a report card for schools that measures the progress each school is making on providing 21st century skills leading to jobs of the future. This card may be different for elementary, middle and high schools. This idea came up in our deliberations and we are not aware of anyone practicing it.
At the same time create a needs assessment system around 21st century skills. The idea is to capture school’s self-identifying their strengths and weaknesses around these needed skills. This idea also came up on Saturday and the suggestion was that the Schools That Can network could then match strengths with weaknesses and build peer-to-peer collaboration at the school leader, mid-level leadership and teacher levels. The objective would be for peer-to-peer support to advance scores on the 21st Century Skills Report Card. This could be an online and local initiative.
2. INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS
Develop local data bases that identify professional and skilled workers who wish to collaborate with urban schools and collaborative schools so they take an active role in class curriculum, support and maybe even co-teaching. Industry partnerships probably would be on the report card and this is a way to score well and start something of value.
FURTHER OUTCOMES IN ADDITION TO POTENTIAL INITIATIVES
West Point Appointments (“scholarships”). We were certainly honored that the Superintendent of West Point and his senior leadership took such an interest in Schools That Can and giving us the opportunity to send two applications from each high school for Fall, 2014 admission for seniors and Summer, 2014 Leadership Experience for juniors. This is an enormously valuable and we also recognized the there opportunity to educate middle school students about West Point as a goal.
West Point Support. LTC Donald Outing also made it clear that West Point wants to build relationships with all schools that apply. This could include cadet visits and local alumni network support. There is tremendous potential here but it all starts with schools having their college advisors starting to identify possible candidates. LTC Outing will be in contact with each school leader and will help you in the process.
As you can see the meeting filled us with an awareness of the challenges, inspired us with aspirational solutions and provided wonderful opportunities to establish long-term school relationships with West Point. At the beginning of the meeting we said we did not want this to be a one-time meeting in an ivory tower. As you can see by the above we are immediately moving forward with initiatives to make progress. After all who is in a better position with a national network of cross-sector schools to realize on the ground results to reverse the statistics of 41% underemployed and 3 million jobs unfilled – statistics that are unsustainable.
Let’s not lose the momentum that has started. We all together can make a difference. Thank you for your continued engagement and support.