Mr. Powell

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Mr. Powell

Leading with Love

Quote of the month: “What is done in Love is done well.” Vincent van Gogh

The 22nd Century Learner

We often hear about what the 22nd Century learner would need in order to be successful. Many believe that it is a complex matrix of ideas that will move our students further, faster. People tend to focus on some new learning that needs to take place. Truth be told, the 22nd Century skillset is really an old skillset that needs to be revisited.

Problem solving and critical thinking are skills that have always been around. Whether humans were solving for travel across the Potomac river or traveling to the moon, complex real world problems have always been there. There are two essential questions that we (parents and staff) must ask ourselves, “How do we create a learning atmosphere where children want to know? And, “How do we gain access to opportunities for every student?” We must continue to create a culture within our school where students are being prepared for careers that have not been created. 

Here is the reality. In an article written in Tough choices or Tough times, the author states, “If we continue on our current course, and the number of nations outpacing us in the education race continues to grow at its current rate, the American standard of living will steadily fall relative to those nations, rich and poor, that are doing a better job. If the gap gets to a certain-but unknowable-point, the world’s investors will conclude that they can get a greater return on their funds elsewhere, and it will be almost impossible to reverse course.” (2007, pg. 8) This written (12) years ago. So… Where are we on this continuum?

In an effort to better prepare our students, project-based learning through STEM/STEAM processes is a focus at Cary ES. James Brown, Director of the STEM Coalition in Wash., DC, states, “The future of the economy is in STEM.” Further, STEM and Green Jobs while they do not always agree on their definitions they do agree that the jobs will involve Science, technology, engineering and mathematics. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “STEM jobs-are projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022.” “That’s an increase of about 1 million jobs over 2012 employment levels.”

John B. Cary Elementary School’s mission includes a commitment to engage in good stewardship of our natural, human and material resources. To that end, we are moving aggressively to transform our elementary school campus into 22nd century model that meets its educational and community goals without degrading the ecological, social, and economic systems on which our region and all of our futures depend. In brief, we are moving our campus in the direction of leaving no carbon footprint within the next two years and peak our students interest in Green career paths early in their development. Thus, creating scientists and leaders with an eye on protecting the environment. 

Look for more information to come home about the Distance Learning Lab and Thinking and Tinkering Studio that have been created with VCU’s College of Engineering and through the support of the Kiwanis club of Richmond. 

Yours in Service,

Michael