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Education’s Rapid Adaptation During Changing State of Public Health Will Continue, Panelists Say

As the COVID health crisis continues, what defines success in education has changed as well.

Superintendent Kelly Lyman of Mansfield, Conn., and Kenneth Kay, co-author of Redefining Student Success: A Powerful Strategy for District Transformation, hosted a conference session Thursday where they discussed the pandemic’s effects on education.

“COVID, even if unwanted, increased the momentum for the need of a lot of elements of district transformation,” Kay said.

Even before COVID, school districts worked on ways to teach students the skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

However, due to the constantly changing nature of the virus, school districts nationwide had to quickly create a new way of learning that adapts to state of public health.

“The pandemic shows all of us the need to be flexible and think differently in times of crisis,” Lyman said.

The current challenge for educators, Lyman says, is keeping the work momentum up with exhaustive staff and other competing variables.

One way to combat this is the Portrait of Graduate, a learning system that involves students taking charge of their learning through an assortment of skills.

“The Portrait of Graduate is an individual community’s determination as to what competencies will best equip its children to prepare them for the challenges they’ll face in the future,” Kay said.

The portrait of the Graduate involves six success skills: critical thinking, creative problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity.

These skills only serve as a model and school districts have the option to pick and choose which success skills to prioritize within their curriculums.

(Kahwit Tela is a reporting intern for Conference Daily Online and a senior journalism and new media major at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.)

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