PAIRIN’s Notes on the CEI Showcase

Last week, we went up to Snowmass, CO for the CEI Showcase 2016. Beyond enjoying Colorado’s great weather and beautiful mountains, we took home some lessons on the powerful themes that were discussed. The subject of the week was “Sparking Curiosity”, and here’s some of the key takeaways from some sessions we attended.

Christina Jean (CDE, Director of Innovation) spoke on “Assessment As Learning”. How do we make assessment something that happens as a part of the learning process? Using assessment to direct learning simply isn’t enough. It’s about focusing on student development, not the test scores. We need to adapt as we go and learn from mistakes, something PAIRIN definitely agrees with.

Finessa Ferrell (CEI) presented some interesting conclusions from two Wharton School of Business studies related to students: student motivaton to change is the #1 predictor of success. But, how do we motivate students to want to change? They’ve decided the way of inceasing overall achievement is through feelings and skills and mindsets. Create real connections between the students and their teachers, and have the students take control of their learning. The 4 critical academic mindsets to improve student achievement are: “I belong”, “My ability grows with my effort”, “I can succeed at this”, and “This work has value for me”.**

**This sounds like building motivation, self-alignment, grit, and optimism to us (all skills we measure with our survey).

But the major thing we saw was the pattern of innovation woven throughout the sessions. We, at PAIRIN, might sit around seeing all the possibilities of expanding our system, and teaching social emotional learning to students and what it can do for their futures — but we know not everyoneis quite on board yet. The curiosity is there, don’t get us wrong. But there’s still room to get out of the box and find some opportunities to build student success and make the connection between achievement, life skills, and behavior development.

So, what we took away was, take the small steps now to make the big leaps later. Offer the slower pace to people who don’t yet seem to “get it”. Then, introduce the new and exciting capabilities and information we have piece-by-piece instead of all at once. Let the schools and districts get their feet wet, keep it manageable for everyone.

We’re here to build student success, so what are all the ways we might be able to achieve it? It’s all about Competency Based Education. We’re taking the steps to create more discovery based curriculum and help schools build the learning environments to support competency based learning.

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