Feb. 13 Community Forum Summary

If you were unable to attend either the January or February project community forums, this questionnaire gives you the opportunity to provide input to the same questions that each forum’s breakout groups were asked.

On February 13th, community members, parents, teachers and students gathered to discuss the educational vision for Arlington High School.  

Principal Matthew Janger provided a presentation of thoughts on current and future AHS programming, highlighting 21st century trends such as a strong focus on the social and emotional well-being of students,  increased use of project-based learning, and expanding experiences for students through internships and MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses).  David Stephen, from New Vista Design, shared current and future themes in high school programs across the country.

Attendees then broke out into groups to discuss and share their thoughts on two questions:

  • What top five skills, mindsets and character traits do you anticipate Arlington High School graduates will need for an evolving future of work & lives as citizens?
  • What suggestions/ideas/requests do you have for the education AHS will provide in the future?

Following is a summary of the breakout group discussions.  In addition, Arlington Public News created a 5 minute highlight summary and ACMI recorded the entire event.

Top skills:

  • Critical thinking and logical reasoning
  • Research and digital literacy: keep up with changing ways information is accessed
  • Communicating effectively: listening, writing and speaking
  • Emotional intelligence that is connected to collaboration
  • Project-based learning and cross disciplinary opportunities
  • Working collaboratively as a team
  • Literacy and numeracy

Key mindsets:

  • Resilience: ability to fail and get back up; willing to take risks, experiment, make mistakes and ultimately be successful
  • Pairing critical thinking and open mindedness – appreciating different points of view
  • Love of lifelong learning
  • Sustaining and nurturing passions

Important character traits:

  • Curiosity and desire for lifelong learning that instills drive to be self-motivated to pursue learning outside of school
  • Emphasis on body and mind, health and wellness; making sure the whole person is prepared for life
  • Social-emotional strength; how not to get lost in life, advocate for self, self-confidence
  • Building empathy and caring for community and being part of larger, global world
  • Strong organizational skills and learning life skills (going to a bank, staying out of debt)  

Suggestions and ideas for the education AHS will provide in the future:

  • All students that graduate have at least one blended learning opportunity
  • Blending academic and vocational programs so students don’t have to choose one discipline or another
  • Provide a system-wide approach:  teach skills for inquiry-based learning and identify passions before students get to high school
  • Variety of educational spaces and settings (small group, large group, hands-on learning center) to support diverse learners
  • Ensure project-based learning is collaborative and inclusive
  • Improve student schedule flexibility to allow students to explore more areas/subjects
  • Flexible attendance – use snow days, early morning hours (e.g. for the arts), MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) – to create options where not everyone has to come to school every day
  • Internships – provide a town-leased start-up incubator space where businesses extend internships to high school students
  • Project-based and blended learning
  • In order for students to be successful, we need to provide our teachers with a supportive environment and amenities (Professional Development, parking, etc.) that will make them want to stay with the district

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