Planning for an Unknown Destination
October 24, 2014
Orange Schools teachers and administrators enlightened a group of more than 120 parents on the topic of “What are Orange City Schools Doing to Prepare our Children for the 21st Century Global Economy?” at the recent joint PTA meeting at The Cleveland Racquet Club in Pepper Pike. In a presentation titled “Planning for an Unknown Destination”, the audience heard about various engaged learning opportunities that happened throughout the District.
Superintendent Dr. Edwin Holland began with an interactive presentation where he posed the questions: What skills should our children master by graduation? What is the Profile of an Orange City Schools' graduate? What will our students need to know and do in 2027? - Why 2027? It is the year that this year’s kindergarten students will graduate from high school. These questions went along with an animated video of a young adult on a job interview to demonstrate the importance of preparing students with the skills to succeed beyond their school days.
Dr. Holland followed the video by requesting input on what the audience thought were important things for their children to learn and accomplish while attending Orange Schools. Director of 21st Century Curriculum Karen Moore made note of the responses, which varied from fluency in STEM to Independent Thinker to Dealing with Rapid Change. The District will study this valuable input as it moves forward in planning its curriculum. The ideas shared by parents, and one of our students, included:
Mrs. Moore shared a District goal: to utilize Schlechty instructional design qualities to ensure an authentic engaging learning experience for every student. These design qualities are referred to as “Working on Work” (WOW) and focus on improving student performance by improving the quality of schoolwork designed for students.
Moreland Hills School was well represented by Principal Ms. Renee Schoonever along with Kindergarten Teacher Mr. Mike White and 5th Grade Teacher Mr. Scott Hastings who brought along kindergartner Andrew Moderick and 6th grader Will Van de Walle to assist, respectively. Ms. Schoonever addressed changes in the classroom and reinforced that fact with photos showing classic classrooms vs. modern classrooms featuring items such as chalk boards vs. white boards, chalk slates vs. iPads, and rows of desks vs. collaborative workspace.
Mr. White and Mr. Hastings’ focus was on engaging students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Mr. White shared some of the collaborative work his students have experienced including making their school the best. Students focused on how they would design the inside space at MHS. This included studying the shape of the building and making a model of the school using cardboard and other recyclables. Andrew concurred and shared his school bus made entirely of recyclable materials.
See photos from these MHS projects in the above presentation: “Planning for an Unknown Destination”
Mr. Hastings shared his fifth grade GenuisHour project that Will had been a part of last school year. This project focuses on students excelling when they are given the opportunity to learn by researching engaging topics of their choice. Several of the many topics the fifth graders chose included authoring and publishing a book, studying how the brain works, cooking yummy foods, and determining what computer code is and what it does. Will said this interactive project was one of the greatest experiences he has had in school.
The 7th grade teaching team from Brady Middle School joined Principal Mr. Brian Frank. The team included Ms. Jenna Drozd, Mr. Jeff Kapostasy, Ms. Lee McClain and Ms. Danielle Pegher. They shared details on the seventh grade Philanthropy Project that required students to find a good cause, research it and deliver argumentative and research-based presentations about charities of their choosing. This was challenging as they need to be credible and convincing to judges consisting of teachers, administrators, Board members and staff.
Orange High School finished the night with presentations by Principal Dr. Paul Lucas and College Guidance Counselor Mrs. Megan Petronsky. Dr. Lucas spoke about children living in a global society and that their education needs to reflect that through various opportunities such as the partnerships between OHS and high schools in China and Denmark. He also shared the importance of the 2-day intersession coming up in November where students will choose among more than 20 opportunities to focus on a topic outside the typical classroom setting. Mrs. Petronsky shared the importance of “soft skills” that colleges and universities are looking for and how those are integrated into STEM, global, and student leadership activities.
The event focus can be summed up by borrowing a quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt: "We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future."