I recently attended the National Conference on Education, and one of the keynote speakers was Dr. Bill Daggett. I have heard Dr. Daggett speak several times, and each time, I am reminded that it is time to think about educational practices in the 21st Century.
Artificial intelligence enables computers and robots to solve Rubik’s cubes, paint houses, and drive cars. Technology is changing rapidly, and many of the jobs our students will take after graduation do not yet exist. Dr. Daggett uses the examples of technology to remind us that the policies and practices in our schools are structured for the industrial age, not the 21st Century. We need to change.
But Dr. Daggett cautioned us that trying to start a revolution is not the way to bring about the changes we need. Instead, he encouraged us to focus on evolving education.
To evolve education, Dr. Daggett talked about making education relevant and rigorous. This is the message he brought to Superintendents in Maryland and staff in FCPS several years ago. At the National Conference on Education, he added another area for focus – the mental health of our students.
The statistics Dr. Daggett shared about the mental health of students were alarming. Yet, I know our staff see the impact of poverty, stress, and other traumatic experiences on our students. The pressure of social media adds another dimension to student stress.
Mental health issues impact behavior, relationships, and academic performance. Dr. Daggett noted that schools are spending more money on psychologists and therapists to support students; however, this approach focuses on treatment not prevention. He noted that another evolution in education should be to take a proactive approach to addressing mental health by using social emotional curriculum and programs.
I am proud that FCPS has started to evolve education through practices to personalize education with blended learning and LYNX. We are also looking at social emotional programs to take that proactive step to dealing with mental health concerns. These steps are important for our students, but also for our community. We look forward to partnering with you to evolve education!
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