At a workshop last week, principals Drew Patin from Windham Middle School and Kyle Rhoads from Windham Middle School presented to businessmen and women in Windham and Raymond how education has changed in the last 20 years.
“Education of our students today impact businesses tomorrow,” said Rhoads. The plan for the presentation was to inform the business community about what is going on in schools and how the perspective of employers might need to be adjusted.
“The factory model of schooling is dead,” Rhoads said. “The world has become customized.” He used Amazon and Pandora as examples of that. Amazon tells us what we might like in a book, in products and more. “Pandora is trying to create the idea listening experience for me,” he added.
“Companies are trying to create the ideal shopping experience. We’re trying to do the same with education.”
Memorization is no longer needed, said Patin. Everything is at our fingertips. Employers should want employees who can communicate, persevere and can problem solve. “We have the kids go through relevant, real life solutions,” he said.
Teachers are more of a guide through education, giving students the opportunity to fail by not giving them instant gratification. “It’s not just can they do calculus, but can they apply calculus,” Patin said.
They showed a multi-media presentation of examples of learning across the district. “There’s been a change in our culture,” said one high school teacher. Another pointed out that teachers need to teach 21st century skills.
We have to do authentic lessons that utilize skills that are relevant, said WHS teacher Jeff Riddle. Teachers are creating standard operating procedures that allow the student to know what to do when they finish a lesson. It allows each student to move ahead that their own pace. “It will serve its purpose to make them independent thinkers,” said Manchester School teacher Kelly Williamson. “The kids are happier and more engaged,” said another teacher.
“Regardless of what you call it a good teacher, is a good teacher, is a good teacher. You teach a child where they’re at and show them where they can go,” said Rhoads.
The school is asking that business people be mentors to students to give them the opportunity to see what different professions are like. There has to be a balance between the knowledge the students need to know and the skills they need to be effective problem solvers, Rhoads said.
Volunteerism has increased at all of the schools over the last few years and parents are encouraged to be engaged in their children’s learning.