In June, the Board approved the District’s strategic plan and vision for our future.   Since that time we have been off and running.  In particular, there is significant emphasis and investment on our professional development.  For example, our teachers are receiving training on the Common Core Standards which are being implemented in California this year.  You can find more information on the standards at www.corestandards.org.  The mission statement for the Common Core Standards Initiative provides a good summary of its objectives.  It is as follows: 

The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”  

However, there is much more going on than Common Core in San Carlos schools.  For example, 13 teachers representing all six of our schools attended an intensive Summer Institute. During that week, they focused on project based learning, mindset, design thinking, education technology tools, 21st century learning and implementing out strategic plan.   I recently had the opportunity to visit both further training seminars on project based learning and a creative design bootcamp class at Central. The teachers participating in the project based learning training were quite enthusiastic and are already implementing programs in their classrooms.  These projects ranged from 1st graders learning about bats, to third graders creating a “me museum” to middle schoolers planning a DNA town hall.     

The creative design bootcamp class created a Halloween-themed arcade made completely out of cardboard as part of the Caine’s Arcade Worldwide Cardboard Challenge. Students from Brittan Acres and White Oaks were invited to attend and try their skill at the arcade. It was amazing to see the creativity, thought and construction that went into that project. In fact, I was talking to one parent recently who mentioned that it is one of her son’s favorite classes.  He will come home from school and start creating new projects from materials around the house.   

Finally, I was able to see a presentation put on by 3rd and 4th graders at Brittan Acres about their “dream school”.  A timely topic, given our plans to build new schools in the District.  While there were requests for an elevator that taught you everything you need to know about the upcoming class day, to a smoothie bar, arcade, and even a shark  tank, the big takeaway was the need to make learning fun, interesting and creative. 

Our efforts at professional development are providing teachers enhancements to do just that.  We have a fantastic faculty in our District who are already doing amazing work.  Our teachers are important partners in implementing of our strategic plan. Their support and avid participation in professional development efforts has been a critical step to our success thus far. We are on track to implementing our strategic plan and delivering an even better educational experience to our students, that will prepare them for the world ahead. There is a lot of innovative teaching and learning in our District and I encourage you to check it out.