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Future Of Learning Brings Park City Teachers, Students To The Table


The Park City School District continues its master planning efforts which includes a future of learning component. It kicked off on Monday with two  public input sessions. On Tuesday, the master planning steering committee invited teachers and students to help further define the district’s learning needs for the next 10 years.Carolyn Murray has this:

Substitutes were  hired so teachers who wanted to attend Tuesday could. Park City School District Superintendent Jill Gildea says about 70 stakeholders showed up for the Future of Education Summit, held at the district office.

“Parent and community representatives and the steering committee which is a representative group from the community, educators and students. So, it was a structured agenda where we, of course, welcomed everybody and set the purpose, which, of course is launching the master educational plan. And, the master educational plan really takes community input to build the educational specifications. What is it that we’re looking for our learners to be able to do, and experience, through their pre-k through 12 education. So, we set the purpose, shared powerful learning experiences that we each had and tried to distill what is it that makes a powerful learning experience."

Gildea said the group identified elements for learning in the high tech, 21st century. They include critical thinking, creativity, communication, and building collaboration skills. Allowing children to fail she says is also a critical part of learning.

“So, it really supported the whole child, you know, being safe, healthy, engaged, supported and challenged. So, that came up. The strong relationships among and between members of the community really having that open feel of kids being able to do internships, externships. Having community members come in and share expertise, which of course we do with PC CAPS, which we do as a standard part of that program, which we do, but that was sort of affirmed."

Gildea says research shows the student-teacher relationship is the most important for academic success - and it’s closely tied to the whole child philosophy of learning.  The whole child philosophy includes the important role of teachers as mentors.

“So, we know that that matters a lot. And, that’s actually something I’ve been so pleased about when I walk through Park City schools, I really see that sense of caring community and caring adult in the room. You see teachers working with small groups, large groups, individual students. And, you always see a smile on their faces, and patience.  It really is an impressive system in that regard. I really think those are not things you train on either. You know, I really think that’s things that people (have) inherently (when they) come into the profession.  You can’t train someone to be a great mentor.”

She believes the dual language immersion programs in Utah develop cultural tolerance through their curriculum and the DLI teachers in the school district she says helps add to staff diversity.

“But, we offer both French and Spanish dual immersion which means the kids are not only receiving language instruction and core content in a different language but they’re also learning about cultures and being a citizen of the world. Remember, we have people from around the world in these programs actually teaching our kids."

The school district wants community input on the educational design of the future. The website has one simple question:

“They would have the question, what are the three most important skills for a Park City graduate. So, again, we’re trying to distill out from the community what are those three key priorities and we do hope we get a great response with that."

Gildea says they want to hear from everyone -- including businesses, retirees, students, teachers and parents.

Go to pcschools.us and click on the future of learning tab to give your input. The input from this survey will be used by steering committee members as they work to complete the master plan.