Our Commitment to Learning in the 21st Century – Think Globally Act Locally

Quality education that prepares students to meet the challenges and address the changes of the 21st
century is a top priority in the Catalina Foothills School District (CFSD). To achieve success, our
students will need to develop new skills and attain proficiency in different areas than in the past.

Leaders in education and business agree that 21st century skills and content in areas such as critical
thinking, productivity, teamwork, cultural competence, interactive communication, technology, and
systems thinking are needed to succeed in school, work, and life.

First of all, core academic subjects such as reading, writing, science, math, languages, social studies,
and the arts remain the foundation of a comprehensive education and are more important than ever.

However, we must also develop students who have the ability to think critically, apply knowledge at
high levels, and use technology and tools to access, evaluate, and communicate information. Both
rigorous academic standards and 21st century skills are a bridge to authentic, intellectually
challenging work by students in a world that holds unprecedented opportunities for education,
personal growth, and fulfillment as well as global communication, resource scarcity, conflict, and
problem solving.

During the winter and spring of 2006, CFSD gathered a 21st century learning advisory committee of
business CEO’s and entrepreneurs, university officials and professors, students, parents, and teachers
to talk about what knowledge and skills our students will need when they leave their K-12 education
career. This group of advisors met and the results of its deliberations and a thorough review of the
research have been folded into CFSD’s 21st century learning framework.

The Catalina Foothills School District will focus programs on developing skills and attributes of 21st
century learners in the following broad areas and categories: (1) Personal and Social Responsibility
which includes leadership, productivity, self-direction, and teamwork; (2) Digital-Age Literacy
which includes cultural competence, global awareness, interactive communication, and technology
& tools; and (3) Learning & Thinking Skills which includes critical & creative thinking, data
analysis, scientific inquiry, and systems thinking. Assessment of 21st century skills will be integrated
with the assessment of core subjects. We intend to measure our students’ growth in all of these

Professional staff recently completed the redesign of a 21st century curriculum in the areas of
language arts, social studies, math, and science. They are now engaged in the redesign of world
languages to merge the essential subject content and the 21st century skills shown in CFSD’s
framework on the next page. The professional work of organizations and individuals such as the
Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Metiri Group, and Dr. Robert J. Marzano of Marzano &
Associates provides a solid research base to guide the development of a rigorous and relevant
educational program. Instructional practices, resources/tools, assessments, and professional
development are also being examined as part of the redesign process to shape the vision of the 21st
century classroom.

The advice of a broad range of business and professionally engaged citizens has helped us agree on
the knowledge and skills that matter in our 21st century world. Now we are committed to changing
our programs so that our students can move on from their K-12 education confident that they are
well prepared to prosper in post-secondary education, on the job, and in life.

Full Report:

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