The DSAT Leadership team developed this document to establish a working definition and reference point for our One to the World Initiative. Each of the DSAT subcommittees and building level committees that will work to implement this initiative at all grade levels may use this document as a point of reference, a springboard for further dialogue, and a guidepost for our common vision and mission.
Alden Central Schools
One to the World:
A Teaching and Learning Initiative
“Greatness is not in where we stand, but in what direction we are moving. We must set sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but sail we must, and not drift or lie at anchor.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
“The only constant is change.” In today’s world this is an understatement, to say the least. As a school community we strive not only to be relevant in the lives of our students and families but also to help them flourish both now and in the uncertain future. To accomplish this most important goal we have initiated a monumental and transformational shift in our educational paradigm. As Alan November explains, our charge is to “fundamentally redesign the work and the culture of learning to make it more rigorous, creative and motivating.”
Make no mistake about it, One to the World is a teaching and learning initiative, rather than an infusion of new technology. We endeavor to shift our practice from “teacher centered” to “student centered,” as we have done with our use of Kagan structures. We must not only evaluate what we currently do within our curriculum and how we do it, but also consider what we could do that we are not and what tools are available to us to do it. In this time of hyper-connectivity we have what seems like unlimited resources and tools at our disposal. The key for us as educators is to focus on the outcomes we are striving to achieve and not become fixed on any one resource or tool. We must be flexible in our approach to teaching and learning in order to effectively create meaningful learning experiences for our students. Eric Sheninger, a leading practitioner and author in the field writes that “Lessons, curriculum, schools and districts should never be built around technology. Everything we do in education should be built around learning. Thus, if the ultimate goal is to improve student outcomes then the role of any mobile device initiative should be to support or enhance learning.”
Below you will find our One to the World adopted Mission and Vision Statements. Our vision statement is “future-focused” and is an expression of our primary goal in educating students. It is rooted in the 21st Century skills movement that we have long since embraced, and certainly reflective of the new ISTE Standards for Students. This vision, therefore, is not at all a departure from the philosophical path we have been on for quite some time. Our Mission Statement, on the other hand, is “present-focused” and gives us the building blocks for achieving our vision. The four key elements of the Mission Statement reflect November’s Six Questions and provide us with a framework for shaping our instruction going forward.
Methodically and collaboratively we will work in the direction of our vision. It will not happen overnight. No worthwhile transformation ever does. November reminds us that this work is emotional as much as intellectual. In many ways we will be “shifting control from the educator to the learner.” This will seem unnatural and unnerving at times. But while our role as educators will change, it will certainly not be diminished. In fact, as November reminds us: “As knowledge becomes more available online, we are moving to a new reality where the added value of an educator will be measured less by their ability to transfer knowledge and more by their ability to inspire students to continuously expand their own boundaries of learning. As we teach students the lifelong skills of validating content, connecting globally, and applying their knowledge to add value to the world, educators will become more important than ever.”
To nurture knowledgeable critical thinkers, communicators, collaborators, creators and contributors to the world.
To empower students to make meaningful contributions to the world by creating learning experiences that include four key elements:
- Skills : Students will work on Significant Content and Skills.
- Tasks: Students will engage with real world, challenging problems.
- Audience: Students will create public products for an audience beyond the teacher.
- Reach: Students will connect with the world to improve the quality and enhance the impact of their work.
Alan November is widely credited for using the term ”One to the World.”
Our Vision and Mission statements have been adopted and adapted from the work of Alan November, the Loudon County Public Schools in Ashburn, Virginia and the “Essential Project Design Elements” Of Gold Standard Project Based Learning from the Buck Institute for Education.