Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Routine attendance required for 21st century


By GWENCAROL HOLMES

    The 2014-15 school year is off to a great start. Routines are established in each school and classroom that set the tone for the year. These routines help create caring school communities where students feel safe physically, socially and academically.  
    Another routine that is developed at this time of the year, and that is critical to student success, is good attendance. Setting patterns of good attendance is a part of establishing perseverance and responsibility in pursuing goals. There will be days the kids wake up energized and anxious to seize the day, and days when rolling over and sleeping another hour would feel good. Unless students have a contagious illness, they need to be in school. Parent or guardian involvement in a child’s education includes setting the expectation and providing the support to ensure that students maintain good attendance.  
    In addition to demonstrating perseverance and responsibility, we are working to model 21st-century learning traits and help our students develop as 21st-century learners. Regardless of what path our children choose for themselves as they reach adulthood, they will need to be problem solvers, critical thinkers, effective communicators, innovators, self-directed learners, intellectually curious, collaborators, financially and economically literate, knowledgeable of the arts, civically engaged, culturally responsive, globally aware, physically fit and socially and ethically responsible.  
    Yes, school includes learning reading, writing and arithmetic, but it also includes so much more.  We do not know what issues our society will be grappling with in 30 years, but we do have confidence that our children will be able to tackle whatever comes their way if we ensure they develop a 21st-century-learner skill set.  Next time you’re talking to a student about his or her school day, ask:
-  What are the problems or community/world issues you are talking about in school?
-  What are some ways you think we might help solve these problems?
-  What do your classmates think are some ways we might help solve these problems?
    By talking to students about the issues or problems we are grappling with as adults, whether it is water supply, job growth in Blaine County or other current events in the news, parents can model the life-long skills of a 21st-century learner for our children. The children are watching us and learning from us.  
    How fortunate our children are to live in a community with so many great supporters and role models! We look forward to seeing all children at school every day, developing their 21st-century learning skills.


    GwenCarol Holmes is superintendent of the Blaine County School District.




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