We live in a rapidly changing world. The national economy has become part of a global economic network. The convergence of technologies has transformed the way we access information and communicate with one another.
A strong educational system continually strives to prepare students with the requisite competencies and knowledge required in the 21st Century.
Preparing students for the growing complexity of the modern world requires ongoing learning and innovation. A focus on creativity, critical-thinking, communication and collaboration is essential to prepare students for the future. It is our goal at Wheatland-Chili High School to actively engage all students in learning.
Students are expected to demonstrate originality and inventiveness, taking into consideration real world limits when promoting new ideas. “Failure” within a creative risk-taking learning framework represents an opportunity to improve.
Critical thinking and problem solving require students to apply effective reasoning skills and make decisions. Students draw conclusions looking at evidence, structuring arguments, making claims, and considering alternative possibilities.
Clear communication occurs when students effectively articulate their ideas using spoken and written means of communication for a variety of purposes. Students communicate to inform, instruct, motivate, and persuade.
Collaboration skills are equally important in the modern world. Students learn to share responsibility when working respectfully in diverse teams. They learn to be flexible when negotiating how to accomplish a common goal.
The high school academic program is structured around our district commitment to empower students to become motivated learners and global citizens in the 21st Century. Our teachers further strive for excellence across the curriculum. An example of how students are being prepared in the 21st Century can be seen in our technology program, Project Lead the Way (PLTW). It features the following focus areas:
- Interdisciplinary Study – Technology classes use concrete examples, integrating mathematic and scientific principles in authentic applications.
- Rigor & Relevance – Technology curricula shows how concepts operate in the real world by referencing situations that model or make use of the knowledge and skills being studied.
- Project-Based Learning – Students in our technology classes are regularly assigned challenging activities and authentic projects that build upon a base of growing knowledge. Scoring rubrics that define expected outcomes are reviewed at the launch of each project assignment. Exemplars of completed projects by previous students are shared and regular feedback is provided to guide the student work process.
- Success through “Failure” – The design process is the foundation of all engineering professions, so it is integral to our PLTW classes. The design process (depicted below) is analogous to the learning process in that the construction of knowledge is a continuous process often advanced through perseverance and discovery by error. Good design comes from experience, which not surprisingly, sometimes comes from poor design. Our teachers allow students to make mistakes but still achieve the numeric rewards that they desire by re-working their projects in a timely fashion.
- Tools for Learning – A compelling 21st Century technology curricula integrates up-to-date industrial and computer equipment together with cutting-edge software as part of a rich learning experience.
- Instructional Capacity – Our teachers not only possess expert knowledge and skills of the topics, tools, materials, and processes that comprise their curricula, they also apply their knowledge and skill on school-related projects that enhance the learning environment. (Designs for an example syringe-powered robot arm [DDP curriculum] and a customized manufacturing simulation workstation [CIM curriculum] depicted below were developed by Mr. Brett Handley, PLTW teacher/author.)