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Trevor Thursday Digest - December 3, 2020

Dear Trevor Community,
 
As I’ve previously shared with you, for some time the department heads and I considered requiring at least one online course before graduation—and, in the blink of an eye, we plunged into that necessity. In The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, one of my favorite authors, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, does an excellent job elucidating the need for adaptability; he also analyzes why it was so hard to keep up with the rapidity of change at the turn of the 21st century, especially in technology. I experienced that firsthand, as I directed technology programs in schools in the 1980s and 1990s.
 
I was taken by a recent New York Times article by Friedman, After the Pandemic, a Revolution in Education and Work Awaits, where he again discusses adaptability in terms of the educational foundation that will best serve our children into the future. 
 
“Your children can expect to change jobs and professions multiple times in their lifetimes, which means their career path will no longer follow a simple ‘learn-to-work’ trajectory, as Heather E. McGowan, co-author of The Adaptation Advantage: Let Go, Learn Fast, and Thrive in the Future of Work, likes to say—but rather a path of ‘work-learn-work-learn-work-learn.’"

“Learning is the new pension,” Ms. McGowan also maintains. “It’s how you create your future value every day.”

“The most critical role for K−12 educators, therefore, will be to equip young people with the curiosity and passion to be lifelong learners who feel ownership over their education.”

Among the Trevor leadership, we have begun a robust conversation to consider the adaptations that the pandemic necessitated—and sometimes inspired. When the pandemic ends, what will we hold onto, and what will we jettison? What are best practices that we have always practiced?  And what are those we’ve learned in crisis, as we live by the mission that Friedman references: equipping young people with the curiosity and passion to be lifelong learners who feel ownership of their education.
 
For example, we recognized early the emerging consensus concerning the critical importance of face-to-face instruction (whenever possible), for our youngest learners and greater options for growth and success within virtual settings as a student progresses into upper grades—an approach that Trevor embraced in our reopening plan.
 
There are also myriad parental challenges to consider in helping children take ownership over their education. We recognize the need to allow for increasing independence—but, given the times in which we live, too often parents find themselves monitoring what children are doing at every turn. How do we maintain these enhanced partnerships between teachers, parents, and students, while also allowing young people to learn to be autonomous?
 
While this reflection may seem premature—as, unfortunately, we see virus rates surge across the country—we do have the responsibility to be hopeful about a new and improved future normal, and raise these questions in Trevor’s short- and long-term planning. As a community, we want to be both nimble and innovative, so that we can consistently reassess and re-envision the most relevant and meaningful school experience for our children.
 
Just some food for thought.
 
Wear masks, wash hands, and social distance. Another friendly reminder.

Yours,
 
 
 
 
 
Scott R. Reisinger
Head of School
Back
Ambitious academics.  Engaged students.  Balanced lives.

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