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10:40 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

Quad-City Schools: District listens to its students, makes a plan

Six students from Humboldt Unified School District schools answer questions about their experience and what they need in the future.

Humboldt Unified School District/Courtesy photo

Six students from Humboldt Unified School District schools answer questions about their experience and what they need in the future.

On Dec. 1 leaders from the Humboldt Unified School District gathered together to discuss the vision of the district moving into the future. Superintendent Dan Streeter explained that a Superintendent Advisory committee had been meeting for several months to discuss what an HUSD graduate would need to look like to compete post-graduation. A vision was created out of this committee with several goals in mind to create a well-rounded student that will be engaged and ready to compete in a 21st Century global economy. Superintendent Streeter explained that the mission of the Humboldt Unified School District is “to provide a comprehensive, world-class education for all students.” This means that anyone can walk through the doors of any of our Humboldt schools and be provided with a rigorous and challenging education that will provide the necessary tools to compete globally.

The Superintendent Advisory committee brought together district principals, teachers, business leaders, members of the town government, school board members and students. Superintendent Streeter explained that 60 percent of our current kindergarteners will work in a job that doesn’t currently exist. We must go beyond the content mastery of math, English, social studies, and science. The advisory committee created six areas that would fit together to create this 21st Century HUSD graduate. In addition to content mastery there is critical and creative thinking, civic and global engagement, communication, self-directed work, and collaboration.

It was the students’ input that took center stage at the district’s Dec. 1 meeting. The student panel consisted of two high school students from the east campus online high school, two students from Bradshaw Mountain High School and two middle school students from Glassford Hill Middle School. The students were asked a series of questions by Superintendent Streeter to help the audience understand their needs and how to connect those needs with their education. It was out of these questions asked over the past several months that helped to shape the six areas of the profile.

Keys areas that were addressed by students were a need for classes that fit their current and future interests such as computer coding and other areas of interest. They addressed a need to have more choices in elective courses that will take them into the future and help with college readiness. They appreciate those teachers that focus on what the student’s strengths and interests are and build on those pre-graduation passions. They want to apply the information being taught to real world problems and collaboratively come up with solutions. Collaboration was a key item that the students recognize as a tool that will successfully lead them into the future job market. Collaboration helps them to see different perspective for problem solving.

Another popular topic amongst all of the students on the panel was technology and how it could be used for learning. Some felt that they may be at a disadvantage when it comes to future preparedness. Those students from the online campus were confident in their abilities to move forward into college with online courses and classes that require online submission of work. Those at the main high school campus didn’t seem to have enough experience with online coursework. All agreed that more technology choices needed to be implemented into learning. This could be with student laptops, tablets, online projects with virtual collaboration, online submission of work and expanding tools such as power point presentations and using Google docs. Their expectations would be in the near future to have online textbooks that could be updated and accessed easily. Information is at their fingertips and research is no longer laborious but they crave a way to take that information and apply it to everyday life.

The students’ feedback resonated three main points. The students want more choices when it comes to electives that will give them the information necessary to further their interests and connect those interests to future coursework and careers. They want the tools necessary to compete in a global economy by getting early experience with collaboration, communication and civic engagement. These tools are what future employers are seeking in their workforce.

Most important though is immediate access to the technology that already exists to keep them competitive and current. This technology is already available we just have to infuse them into our education system and utilize the benefits of teaching with technology. For the most current information on what HUSD is doing by like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and heading to our website at humboldtunified.com.