On Target June 2019
Curriculum Corner June 19
  • Growing Innovation: The Class of 2032     


    Having grown up in the farmlands of South Jersey, the adage, “don’t plant your annuals until Mother’s Day” is common practice. There is art and science to growing hearty plants. At that time of year, we, as educators, enthusiastically begin planting the seeds for the upcoming school year. 


    Think about it. We have the privilege of planning for the class of 2032. Are our students still in rows answering the questions at the end of Chapter 2? We cannot deny that our students learn, create and share what they know quite differently than the students who preceded them.  With this in mind, what innovations are you supporting to prepare students for their future?


    I recently had the pleasure of attending a lecture given by Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs, author of, “Bold Moves for Schools.” Dr. Hayes Jacobs challenged us to give up on reform, and make new. There are new ways of upgrading every subject we teach. Dr. Hayes Jacobs advocated for learners who need contemporary teachers and leaders who are:


    • Literate self-navigators
    • Professional learners
    • Social Contractors
    • Media critics
    • Savvy media makers
    • Mindful citizens
    • Global ambassadors
    • Innovative designers
    • Advocates for learning


    Along with advocating for perpetual learning by our students and staff, a close read of the aforementioned points leads us to think about educational personalization that includes, “new literacies: digital, media and global.” In terms of pedagogy, our focus must be on keeping the, “classical,” and “creating the contemporary.” Although we may recognize the need for and the benefits of these innovations, if we do not provide an embedded structure for innovation, the point is mute.


    In order to prepare the soil for a fertile harvest, throughout the past year, my colleagues have worked collaboratively to update our high school schedule. We are creating a structure for innovation. Realizing that we are not the first school to do this, we are planning to utilize time around student lunches to give our students a chance to self-select activities from learning labs, to clubs, to open gym time. Office hours are planned for staff to assist students with self-advocacy and social learning.  


    Yet, the most exciting part of the new schedule is that it affords teachers common planning time. We plan to utilize the Connected Action Roadmap to view, review and reform our work with our New Jersey Student Learning Standards. We are planting the seeds with our teachers by giving them time to collaborate and learn from shared experiences and shared leadership. Our administrative team is so looking forward to listening and learning as our colleagues begin this work. It’s growing season!