by Shane Clark
The educational model currently used in most public school classrooms was made for a different time. Devised for a primarily industrial economy over a century ago, the current system isn’t actually broken (as some would say), but it is terribly outdated. Rather than simply turning out workers as their primary mission, American schools must now address the needs of an information technology-based economy. We need public schools to create thinkers, leaders, problem-solvers, and entrepreneurs. It is for this purpose that the American Academy of Innovation (AAI) was created.
One of AAI’s core philosophies is helping students to acquire what business and education leaders have referred to as 21st Century Skills. These skills include three primary areas – learning skills, literacy skills, and life skills. In several important studies, 21st Century Skills are those attributes that employers have said are most badly needed in the workers of tomorrow.
Rather than simply memorizing facts or learning to successfully take tests, AAI will teach students how:
- To think, both critically and creatively
- To collaborate, both as a leader and as part of a team
- To communicate, both in speaking and in writing
- To be technically literate—not only to be familiar with what technology is, but also with how to select the right tech-based tools to solve specific problems
- To research a subject or a problem thoroughly
- To take initiative and direct their own learning, with an eye toward creating a lifelong love of education
- To interact with mentors, teachers, and business leaders to learn about how to be successful in an ever-changing and exciting world
Having these skills will create both confidence and competence in AAI graduates. Students with 21st Century Skills not only know what to do in theory, but have used these skills for real-world applications during project-based learning and in conjunction with skilled mentors. They have led a team, designed a project, researched a problem, devised a budget, delivered a presentation, and worked across academic disciplines. In short, our hope is that most AAI students will be better prepared for whatever life throws at them than students in traditional schools.
Whether a student moves from AAI to a four-year college, to a skilled trade school or directly into the workforce, they will be prepared to learn quickly, utilize technology, communicate important information, be a part of a team and lead others. If this education approach is interesting to you, we’d invite you to request more information about AAI, attend a parent meeting, and keep up to date with the building of the school. We’re excited to make a difference in our community and lives of our students in the years to come.