21st Century Collaborative Project
An Educational Initiative to Transform High School for the 21st Century
The quality of a high school is often measured by how prepared graduates are for higher education or the world of work. With the ever-changing nature of the world and workforce, not only must today's graduates be proficient in core academic subjects, they need to be critical thinkers, problem solvers and effective communicators. In short, they need 21st century skills.
The district's 21st Century Collaborative team explored a wide range of current educational trends and practices, reviewed research and literature, and collaborated with the private sector and higher education to ensure MVUSD students graduate with the skills and habits of mind necessary to face the ongoing technological and workforce changes they will encounter.
Click here to see the 21st century initiatives that have been undertaken.
The six key elements from Results that Matter: 21st Century Skills and High School Reform, published by the Partnership for Twenty First Century Skills, were used to guide the team's discussions and provide a framework.
The key elements of a 21st century blueprint for high schools are:
Mastery of core subjects including:
- English, reading and language arts
- World languages
- Government and Civics
21st Century ContentIn addition to these subjects, schools must move beyond a focus on basic competency in core subjects to promoting understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into the core subjects. The interdisciplinary themes include:
Learning and Innovation SkillsLearning and innovation skills increasingly are being recognized as the skills that separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in the 21st century from those who are not. A focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration is essential to prepare students for the future. Specifically, these skills include: including Students now live in a technology and media-rich environment marked by access to an abundance of information, rapid changes in technology tools, and the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions on an unprecedented scale. This requires students to be media literate and able to process and sort vast amounts of information. To be effective in the 21st century, citizens and workers must be able to exhibit a range of functional and critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology.
- Information, Media, and Technology SkillsStudents now live in a technology and media-rich environment marked by access to an abundance of information, rapid changes in technology tools, and the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions on an unprecedented scale. To be effective in the 21st century, citizens and workers must be able to exhibit a range of functional and critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology. Today's life and work environments require far more than thinking skills and content knowledge. The ability to navigate complex life and work environments in the globally competitive information age requires students to develop adequate life and career skills include:
- Life and Career Skills
Today's life and work environments require far more than thinking skills and content knowledge. The ability to navigate the complex life and work environments in the globally competitive information age requires students to develop adequate life and career skills. These skills include:
- Flexibility & Adaptability
- Adapting to varied roles and responsibilities
- Working effectively in a climate of ambiguity and changing priorities
- Initiative & Self-Direction
- Monitoring one's own understanding and learning needs
- Going beyond basic mastery of skills and/or curriculum to explore and expand one's own learning and opportunities to gain expertise
- Demonstrating initiative to advance skill levels towards a professional level
- Defining, prioritizing and completing tasks without direct oversight
- Utilizing time efficiently and managing workload
- Demonstrating commitment to learning as a lifelong process
- Social & Cross-Cultural Skills
- Working appropriately and productively with others
- Leveraging the collective intelligence of groups when appropriate
- Bridging cultural differences and using differing perspectives to increase innovation and the quality of work
- Developing active listening skills
- Productivity & Accountability
- Setting and meeting high standards and goals for delivering quality work on time
- Demonstrating diligence and a positive work ethic (e.g., being punctual and reliable)
- Leadership & Responsibility
- Using interpersonal and problem solving skills to influence and guide others toward a successful attainment goal
- Identifying and leveraging strengths of others and demonstrating the ability to effectively utilize these strengths in order to accomplish a common goal
- Demonstrating integrity and ethical behavior
- Acting responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind
- Authentic 21st Century Assessments
Measuring these four key elements must include authentic assessments that are valid, reliable, affordable and sustainable. A balance of traditional assessments may include standards-based and standardized tests, along with classroom designed assessments focusing on critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills.