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Sep 29th, 2017
This past week, I attend the Minnesota Independent Schools Forum Leadership (MISF) Conference. The annual conference offers informative and applicable sessions, but also is a chance to learn from fellow school leaders. Each year, I am inspired and come away with great new learnings, connections to the wisdom of a fantastic group of school leaders, and most importantly, affirmation that we are doing the right things at Annunciation.
One session, presented by a Catholic high school administrator, shared findings from a Harvard study on skills our students need for the future. He quoted Tony Wagner, a Senior Research Fellow from Harvard, “We are focused on our students passing the test at the expense of failing our kids at life”. Wagner identifies the seven skills students desperately need for their future:
- Problem-solving and critical thinking
- Agility and adaptability
- Initiative and entrepreneurship
- Effective written and oral communication
- Accessing and analyzing information
- Curiosity and imagination
When I reflected on these skills, I was able to recognize these skills as priorities in our teaching and learning at Annunciation, specifically through the IB and inquiry process. Most of the information I gained at the conference just reinforced for me the importance of the work we are doing to affectively prepare our students for the world they will lead.
The International Baccalaureate program is central to our focus and mission as a school. This past week, we took one more important step in our IB journey. Anne LaLonde Laux, IB coordinator, shares news of our exciting journey in the article posted below.
Jennifer M. Cassidy
This week Annunciation submitted our application to be authorized and recognized as an IB World School. Our application includes a portfolio filled with examples of our growth, learning and reflection.
What does it mean to be an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School?
Over the past three years, we have asked ourselves this question thousands of times. Through this questioning, we created a program of inquiry for Annunciation students that encompasses a transdisciplinary balance of knowledge, skills, conceptual understanding, attitudes, and action.
The requirements for being recognized as an IB school are rigorous, challenging and significant. Our learning goes well beyond the classroom and both students and teachers are genuinely engaged.
The framework has required us to ask,
- "What do we want/need to learn?"
- "How best will we learn?"
- "How will we know what we have learned?"
The Primary Years Program is a transformative experience for students, teachers and the whole school community. PYP students learn how to be independent learners, collaborate with other students to deepen their learning and increase their confidence and self-motivation.
What is next?
The International Baccalaureate Organization will review our application and portfolio and assign an authorization team to visit Annunciation this spring. It is an honor to be considered for authorization in this ever-growing global community that includes schools in 144 different countries.
As an Annunciation parent, teacher, and IB coordinator - I'm proud of these changes in our school and I look forward to continuing to blend our rich catholic school traditions that recognize the gifts and potentiality of every student with being recognized as a school that "aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a more peaceful world through understanding and respect.” (IBO mission)
Anne LaLonde Laux
International Baccalaureate (IB) Coordinator
Enrichment Teacher & Coordinator