Creating a Winning Triangle: Schools, Workforce & Community through Apprenticeships

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus, a career preparedness facility for high school students in the Cherry Creek School District, located just outside of Denver, Colo.

This visit was part of an AASA Youth Apprenticeship Summit, where superintendents joined me to get a firsthand look at engaged and motivated students pursuing potential pathways to gain the skills necessary to earn a portable credential in preparation for their next step, whether that was heading directly to college or entering the workforce.

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Ready to Hit the Ground Running in 2021

For generations, maintaining a leadership role in reshaping America’s public education agenda has always been an integral part of AASA’s DNA. Just a few days after the outcome of the 2020 elections, we were pleased to issue a set of proposed education policy recommendations for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris.

We know that the new administration is looking for a path forward, and a healthy and quick response to, and recovery from, the COVID-19 pandemic.

AASA is committed to having a strong professional and collaborative relationship with the next administration. The policy recommendations we are proposing culminate our efforts to set a new, positive course for American education and ensure America is a land of opportunity for every child.

The report, A New Education Vision for a New Administration, which was prepared by the AASA Policy and Advocacy Team, contains the following key recommendations:

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The Digital Landscape: It’s Not Just the Technology

By Dan Domenech, AASA executive director

We’re seeing a revolution taking place in our classrooms and in our schools. This revolution is being driven by technology.

If we truly want to provide each and every child with the quality education they deserve, utilizing digital resources will be a major spoke in the process. Technology is enabling the personalizing of education in the 21st century.

In our book Personalizing 21st Century Education, Mort Sherman, John Brown and I describe technology-driven personalization going on at Innovations Early College High School where students can participate in:

  • Online, self-paced courses;
  • A rich range of multimedia-driven options for interactivity within the learning environment; and
  • Mastery-focused skills and concept progression via technology-enhanced learning modules.

Scores of superintendents across the country are leading successful models of digital transitions across the country in an effort to enable high-quality learning in their school systems.

However, these superintendents agree with me that it’s not just about putting a laptop in the hands of a child. It’s not about running to the store and purchasing the latest gadgets. It’s critical that a plan is in place prior to putting the mechanics in motion. Making the digital leap is popular but we need to be careful. The question remains: How will the technology enable children to learn?

Earlier this month, we were pleased to see superintendents who are engaged in the digital transition convene at Discovery Education as part of AASA’s Digital Consortium.

Said Gail Pletnick, superintendent of Arizona’s Dysart Unified School District, “As superintendents, we are so involved with our leadership roles, we forget to nurture ourselves as learners.” At the Consortium, we were especially pleased to see district leaders taking part in learning from the experiences of others.

Professional development plays a huge role in bringing about the transformation of teaching and learning in our schools and I applaud the superintendents who joined us and shared best practices and strategies for the benefit of others.

We look forward to our next Digital Consortium meeting this summer in Chicago.

I encourage you to contribute to the conversation. Please access #AASA_DigitalConsortium.