District celebrates creativity via innovation in 2016-17 staff kickoff
Twenty-first century students will need more than just knowledge to be successful.
Now, educators must help them develop competencies from collaboration to critical thinking and traits such as adaptability to prepare for jobs that don’t exist, Superintendent Dr. Lisa Snyder told staff at the staff kickoff event at Lakeville South High School’s auditorium.
“I invite you to have a voice in our system, to help solve complex challenges such as personalizing learning,” Snyder said.
By a number of measures, the district’s students succeed academically: 95 percent of students graduate from high school, one of the highest rates in the state. Lakeville North and Lakeville South high schools have been named to the AP Honor Roll for a sixth year and Newsweek magazine’s top 500 high schools in the country.
Educating students in the same way as society has for 125 years may not help them be as successful in the future, however. Instead, personalizing learning is critical for students to continue to succeed in the 21st century economy, Snyder said. Sixty-five percent of students attending school now will have jobs that do not even exist today.
Snyder praised staff members who are trying innovative approaches. Examples ranged from staff helping students find their passions to giving students flexibility and choice in projects to asking students how they would redesign classrooms to better meet learning needs.
As part of the welcome back, staff members then watched the documentary “Most Likely To Succeed.” The film explores how to make learning relevant to students and challenges educators, students and parents to reimagine what that could look like in their own communities.
Staff members were encouraged to share their thoughts and reactions on social media using the hashtag #Transform194. Reactions were shared real-time on screens next to the movie screen.
Snyder said she hoped the film would validate many educators’ approaches while sparking new ideas to try in their classrooms. The film was not intended to be a roadmap for what Lakeville ought to do, either, but rather a conversation starter to help staff think about approaches that may work in their classrooms.
Board of Education Chairwoman Michelle Volk praised staff for their innovation and dedication to students’ success, citing it as a factor in the community’s support for the district. Over the past five years, the Board of Education has worked closely with the district’s staff and stakeholders to build a stronger future for our schools.
“It is clear from the support of two levy referendums as well as other key metrics such as an overall increase in volunteerism and donations to our district that our community supports our schools,” Volk said. “Whether it is the Chamber of Commerce bringing new teachers gifts and hosting breakfast gatherings or the Rotary Foundation supporting so many programs for our students, I believe there are numerous examples of community support of our schools.”
Snyder thanked staff for their hard work, willingness to try new approaches and to go the extra mile for each student.
“You are at the core of our mission and vision,” Snyder said, adding administration cannot thank staff enough for all they do.
Volk also thanked staff for their hard work and dedication that makes students’ success possible.
“As teachers and staff, you make an incredible difference lives of our students. You may never know just what a profound impact you have on individual students,” Volk said.