Later today, I’ll be at the launch of what School Board president Darnetta Clinkscale and others are calling “the school of the future.” It is a new high school in the City’s public school district that will adjust its curriculum to some important 21st Century realities.
The world is changing. Every year, it is smaller, more technologically advanced, and more competitive. When the children who are now entering high school were in pre-school, we didn’t have e-mail, pocket cell phones, or civilian GPS. Few people and fewer Americans worried about out-sourcing jobs to India or China.
We can’t expect kids to succeed, if our schools aren’t preparing them for the world they’ll find. And if we don’t prepare them, they will be eaten by sharks.
Great schools have to start with the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic. But, that’s just the foundation. Our kids need so much more.
That is what is so exciting about this school. This school will align its teaching and learning with real world environments by teaching basic skills, but going on to things like critical thinking and problem-solving; civic and economic literacy; and health awareness and accountability. This school is being engineered to prepare students in the real world.
One thing I like about Darnetta — and superintendent Creg Williams is their emphasis on making schools work to let students succeed.
They say (and I strongly agree) that in order to make schools work and their students successful, they first had to change the way the school district did business — using the changes to put more resources in classrooms and put better trained, better paid teachers in front of students.
It hasn’t been easy and it certainly isn’t over, but the school district has made some progress. It much more likely today, than three years ago, to find partners willing to help.
This "school of the future" is a good example. The partnership responsible for this launch required the commitment of Dell; the on-going support of local businesses like SBC/AT&T; and guidance from universities like UMSL. Those commitments would not have happened without the faith that we have developed in Darnetta Clinkscale, the hope that we have for Creg Williams, and the certainty we have that their efforts will benefit our children.