Innovation Educator Reaffirms Our Good Work at CDS
It was our great pleasure to host Harvard Innovation Education Fellow Tony Wagner last week at 601 Dolores, our new middle school site. Tony identifies seven key skills for today’s students:
- Critical thinking
- Agility and adaptability
- Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
- Initiative and entrepreneurial skills
- Effective oral and written communication skills
- Accessing and analyzing information
- Curiosity and imagination.
How do we teach these skills at CDS? Here are interviews with our middle school faculty describing the teaching and learning that happens daily in the middle school. Our teachers focus on graduating students who are informed advocates that understand complex issues and engage with the world around them.
Tony talked about how four-year-olds ask a hundred questions a day and how ten-year-olds have been taught not to bother asking questions. At CDS we encourage students to question, explore, tinker and experiment. And we encourage reflection. Tony suggested that student portfolios would be standard in schools in the future. The CDS middle school students have portfolios, as do the CDS middle school teachers. Work samples, reflections, ideas and experiments from fifth grade through eighth grade demonstrate what a student knows and what he/she can do with that knowledge.
Does your school have outcomes for graduates? Tony talked about being intentional with values as well as the curricula. CDS has standards for graduates as advocates, innovators, and as lifelong learners, as well as expectations for being intentional and conscientious. We expect our students to be ambassadors and leaders for a socially just world, to value people over things, to be adaptable and curious, accountable and entrepreneurial. We expect a lot of our students and we have an incredibly talented group of teachers who collaborate to challenge and engage our students every day.
The CDS teachers have been offering an incredible middle school program from a handful of classrooms at 333 Dolores. Soon CDS will begin renovation of 601 Dolores and the middle school will have science labs, a performing arts space, an innovation lab and a rooftop garden - the spaces that this rich and engaging program needs. CDS is asking every family, every grandparent and every friend of the school to help us raise the funds that will get this renovation started and provide these dynamic and talented teachers with the spaces that will allow the program to soar.