As one of Colorado’s highest achieving school districts, Littleton Public Schools has long provided students with an outstanding education. And as the job-scape continues to change with technology pushing us forward, LPS is committed to ensuring that we are prepared to educate our students for tomorrow’s world – in an environment where our kids are engaged and passionate about what they are learning.
Today’s Millennials and GenZ/iGen will be followed by succeeding generations that demand even more freedom, independence and autonomy in their personal and work lives. Work will be a concept rather than a place. A large portion of the working population will likely be freelance or self-employed. People may work in similar roles for multiple companies, which will increasingly adopt as-needed employment strategies. Technology will be used to create a bridge, linking peers around the globe with one another. Most importantly, workers and employers will have to invest themselves in lifelong learning to stay abreast of what will be constant technological change and societal disruption.
Tomorrow’s workers will succeed by constantly adapting to the changing world around them. Today’s students must begin by learning new life skills. Recently, more than 300 local industry leaders, teachers, community members, parents and students discussed what the priorities should be for LPS moving forward. Also, focus groups of LPS high school students shared their priorities and compiled the Portrait of an LPS Graduate, which outlines the skills every LPS graduate should have.
Our district achievement goal states: 100% of LPS students will be prepared for meaningful post-secondary opportunities.
All students matter.
Educators refer to this concept as Equity, which means meeting the needs of each student where they are in their learning journey and moving forward to a high level of achievement. This approach seeks to close the opportunity gap by addressing individual students’ learning needs in many different ways.
LPS defines innovation as a way of thinking that creates something new or better. With innovation in mind in 2017, we changed school start times to better align with adolescent sleep patterns. Innovation helped us devise a way to keep homebound students present in their classroom. LPS deploys OTIS the robot – a digital platform that allows a student to participate in classroom activities, converse with teachers and classmates, and be part of the learning experience from a remote location.
To inspire creativity and develop a mindset of innovation in our students, their learning process also must be creative and innovative. While LPS is held to the same academic standards as all other Colorado school districts, LPS is giving teachers permission to think about and use them differently. Geometry, for example, is being taught through a course on construction, giving students a practical application for what previously seemed like abstract math processes.
Thanks to LPS voters’ passage of the 2018 bond, LPS is able to renovate a recently purchased property in the middle of the district across from Littleton High School to create a new Career and Technical Education and Innovation Center for LPS. The district currently offers a variety of Career and Technical Education pathways for students. Now is the time to enhance and expand these offerings so that more students have more choices that lead to college credit or certification in highly skilled industries.
An environment characterized by constant change also means that educators have the opportunity to learn new skills and learn from one another. Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, LPS devoted the first hour of each Wednesday for the purpose of ongoing teacher education. Teachers in each LPS school use this time to collaborate in what are called Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to discuss their challenges, what is most important for students and ways to improve student learning.
The one common understanding among the highest performing school systems in the world is that a school can only be as good as the people within it. PLCs enhance student learning and close opportunity gaps because they produce better teaching strategies, by more teachers, more often.