WEST NEWBURY — What will life be like for today's kindergartners when they graduate from high school in 2028? In a world that is rapidly changing, what skills and experiences must the public school system provide in order for children to become successful citizens 17 years down the road?
The Pentucket Regional School District has launched a strategic planning process it hopes will thoughtfully and deliberately develop the kind of schools that equip students with the tools needed to successfully compete in a world that will likely look very different than the one their parents faced after high school.
Led jointly by Assistant Superintendent William Hart and Principal Elaine Champion of the Bagnall Elementary School, the Pentucket Strategic Planning process got under way Wednesday with a one-hour visioning session for Groveland students. Throughout the month, similar sessions are planned with students and teachers across the district and with community members in all three Pentucket towns (see related story for schedule of visioning sessions). Both Hart and Champion have participated previously in strategic planning efforts in other school districts.
Hart said the goal of these meetings is to develop a clear vision of "the enduring strengths" of the school district and what "the community holds sacred about our schools." Additionally, it is important to start defining and supporting those educational aspects that will be key to a quality education in a future that will be vastly different from today.
Schools need to provide kids with necessary content knowledge. But at the same time, schools also must work to develop essential 21st Century skills — or "Habits of Learning" that young adults in the United States will need in order to compete with their counterparts from other countries in this global economy, Hart said. Pentucket has identified five key Habits of Learning: thinking, communication, collaboration, independence and creative exploration.