Last week, 50 teachers and administrators from EPISD attended the New Tech Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla., to learn more about the Active Learning Framework and project-based learning initiatives that are the cornerstone of our New Tech programs. I was lucky to be able to join them —and about 2,000 other educators from throughout the country — to get more familiar with these strategies that are critical to our goal of creating student engagement that concentrates on whole-child growth and development.
As educators committed to growing and “getting better,” we are acquiring the skills, energy and enthusiasm to bring Active Learning to our schools. Our partners at the New Tech Network – which helped us launch two schools-within-a-school last year and will help us start six more over the next few years — will help us make the shift to an Active Learning District.
New Tech is a great way to bring Active Learning to our students, but we want to make sure all of our campuses participate in this innovative framework. To do that, teachers who are not in New Tech programs are training under the great people of engage2learn, an education outfit that helps us engage students using modern learning techniques and technology.
Active Learning is a redesign of teaching and learning that will move us to a student-centric approach. Our students will develop collaborative and creative thinking skills as well as an enhanced social and emotional IQ, all while they meet the academic standards required by our state system. This is what I like to call the “learning behind the learning.”
Join our progress as EPISD intentionally moves away from a focus on state accountability measures to a system that values the skills, talents and abilities of every student, fosters student engagement and develops individual student interests, while it also build meaningful relationships with our students.
Many of you have focused on Active Learning and student engagement for years, but as a district-wide school system that has not been our focus. This transition will help ensure equity across the District, as every student deserves the opportunity to learn in an engaging, student-centric classroom.
While we all know change and transition never come easy, the fact that all of us are moving together should make the journey more enjoyable.
Thanks again to everyone working to make our district a better place for students and a special thanks to everyone who attended #ntac16 for your commitment to “rethink” teaching and learning!