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column: 21st century classroom

The new guiding mission of the North Carolina State Board of Education is that every public school student will graduate from high school, globally competitive for work and postsecondary education and prepared for life in the 21st century.
Some of the goals that have been established by the State Board are:
– Every student excels in rigorous and relevant core curriculum that reflects what students need to know and demonstrate in a global 21st century environment.
– Every student’s achievement is measured with an assessment system that informs instruction and evaluates knowledge, skills, performance and dispositions needed in the 21st century.
– Every student will be enrolled in a course of study designed to prepare him or her to stay ahead of international competition.
– Every student uses technology to access and demonstrate new knowledge and skills that will be needed as a life-long learner to be competitive in a constantly changing international environment.
– Every teacher will have the skills to deliver 21st century content in a 21st century context with 21st century tools and technology that guarantee student learning.
– Every educational professional uses data to inform decisions.
– Every learning environment will be inviting, respectful, supportive, inclusive and flexible for student success.
– School professionals will collaborate with national and international partners to discover innovative transformational strategies that will bring about change, remove barriers for 21st century learning and understand global connections.
– Educational professionals will make decisions in collaboration with parents, students, businesses, education institutions and faith-based and other community and civic organizations to impact student success.
– Twenty-first century technology and learning tools are available and are supported by school facilities that have the capacity for 21st century learning.
The State Board of Education’s goals and the Rowan-Salisbury School System’s vision of having graduates who can successfully compete regionally, nationally and globally are lofty challenges for our school personnel and our students. We do want our graduates to be successful in the 21st century, and we want to know that we are preparing them for a competitive world.
The Rowan-Salisbury School System is launching a new project to begin its journey toward improving the integration of technology into the curriculum and looking at the classroom in a very different way.
Starting in January, teachers interested in applying to be a “Model Classroom” will have the opportunity to do so. A selection committee will choose teachers at the various grade levels that:
– Will be willing to integrate technology into their teachings.
– Will implement new and innovative strategies.
– Will be willing to attend various professional development opportunities.
– Will invite other teachers within the school system to observe their teaching.
– Will embrace change.
Teachers selected to participate will have access to 21st century technology and teaching tools and excellent staff development.
Along with the new initiative, the school system has added a link to its Web site about 21st century learning. Anyone may click on the link and find a wealth of information.
The site contains the full list of goals adopted by State Board of Education and multiple articles about 21st century learning and necessary skills. There is a tab that will take teachers to the application for the model classrooms.
Once the model classrooms have been selected and the classes have started, the site will offer virtual tours and photos of exactly how a 21st century classroom should look. There will also be podcasts from teachers and students sharing ideas and strategies and projects.
We are all very excited about our new venture and believe that the model classrooms will become excellent training arenas for our teachers.
As teachers spend time observing and learning from each other, we are hoping the motivation and inspiration to “do something different” will spread across our school system.
Check out our website over the next several months and learn more about preparing our students for a new future.
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Dr. Judy Grissom is superintendent of the Rowan-Salisbury Schools.

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