21st Century Learning Initiatives
In an effort to set the foundation for facing these challenges, Educational Services convened the MVUSD 21st Century High School Collaborative, which studied the changing college and career expectations our students will be facing and developed the following list of recommendations:The 21st Century Collaborative initiatives were developed with a focus on 21st century structures needed to support the District mission: To inspire all students to think, to learn, to achieve, to care
The Collaborative's recommended initiatives that have been undertaken are organized into four major themes encompassing the six key elements from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills:
- The number of required credits was reduced from 250 semester credits to 230 semester credits except at the continuation high school where students shall complete a minimum of 210 credits. This action allows students to take courses for credit recovery and dual enrollment at the community college.
- Students at the district's comprehensive high schools continue to attend a seven-period day for a minimum of 240 minutes daily each year including the senior year which allows students to take courses for credit recovery, enroll in Advanced Placement or dual enrollment courses with the community college, participate in athletics, and be involved in co-curricular programs. Currently all English courses are UC/CSU approved. This limits seniors from taking an English course designed to meet the expository reading and writing requirements that are typically found in a career/technical path. Students in grade 12 could meet the fourth year English requirement by successfully completing a non-UC/CSU approved course as long as the course was focused on expository reading and writing.
- All English courses in grades 9 through 11 are to be college preparatory courses approved by the University of California to meet the UC/CSU “b” requirement. Students in grade 12 may meet the fourth year English requirement by successfully completing a non-UC/CSU approved course as long as the course is focused on expository reading and writing and the course must include a strong writing component that focuses on clear, concise writing skills and a reading component that emphasizes strong technical reading skills.
- The number of required elective credits was reduced from 70 to 50 at the comprehensive high school and from 35 to 30 at the continuation school. This action ensures that the reduction in graduation credit requirements will reduce the number of elective credits rather than core academic credits.
- A Senior Project has the potential of being the single most important culminating event for our graduates. With today's life and work environments requiring far more than thinking skills and content knowledge, a Senior Project would demonstrate the student's ability to navigate complex life and work environments by requiring students to develop adequate life and career skills that demonstrate initiative and self-direction. Development of the Senior Project would begin in the freshman year and culminate in presentations in the senior year.
- Students obtaining a diploma of graduation from a Murrieta Valley Unified School District high school shall successfully complete a Senior Exit Interview and give a presentation on their personal career/life goals. This presentation will exhibit the student’s creative ability, critical thinking and communication skills while demonstrating a clear understanding of the essential activities needed to achieve the career/ life goals.
- Two online courses were developed and field-tested during the 2009/10 school year: Expository Reading and Writing 11. Plans are under way to develop additional courses including a self-paced program for credit recovery or advancement and a teacher-paced course aligned with the classroom course.
A memorandum of understanding with Mount San Jacinto Community College (MSJC) created a dual enrollment agreement which allows students to earn dual-credit for taking college courses on their high school campuses. Dual enrollment courses meet both high school graduation requirements and the general education requirements for college degree programs and they facilitate completion of requirements for career and technical education pathways.
Students 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. Students must be able to exhibit a range of functional and critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology.
- A one semester ICT/Career Literacy course focuses on the study of skills, knowledge and expertise required to succeed in work and life in the 21st Century. This course also requires students to design a four-year education plan based on individual post high school goals to ensure graduation requirements are met.
21st century learning cannot be accomplished through the exclusive use of 20th century pedagogy and assessments. We must provide continuous, ongoing, structured, relevant and effective staff development for teachers. Strong Professional Learning Communities are encouraged and supported at all grade levels. Elementary and middle schools are dismissed early on Mondays to allow teachers to meet in their Professional Learning Communities. High schools have a late-start schedule two Wednesdays a month and on those days teachers meet in their Professional Learning Communities.
- Staff development must be sustained and focused professional learning time for all teachers. Teachers must be given research-based best practices and allowed to benefit from Professional Learning Communities. Current practices such as the introduction to and implementation of Marzano Instructional Strategies and Thinking Maps, the development/revision of common assessments, data analysis, learning design, and the planning and implementation of accreditation recommendations at the high school level must be supported. Programs and courses offered through school site initiatives such as Career Pathways, International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment, and online courses will require staff training and release time for course and assessment development.