Steven Weber

Superintendent or Asst Super

Fayetteville, AR

Interests: Curriculum design and...

  • Posted 1 Year ago
  • 2.1k

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

View Original Photo

In the movie Christmas Vacation (1989), Cousin Eddie announces “That’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year!”  This movie has become a family tradition in our house. As an educator, I often reflect on programs, instructional strategies, and innovative school improvement plans. How can we provide students with a better educational experience? We should not give students a traditional K-12 experience, if we can transform teaching and learning and reach more students than ever before.

School leadership is changing and the goal of K-12 education has changed. “The nation’s K-12 educational systems may be reaching a potentially historic turning point. Initially designed to educate students to a ‘common’ level of basic education, public schools are now expected to increasingly prepare the vast majority of students for education beyond high school” (Conley, 2009, p. 3). The SREB Fact Book on Higher Education (2011) reported, the fastest-growing job segments from 2008 to 2018 will be those requiring a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree or postsecondary technical certificate. Preparing students to graduate from high school with content knowledge alone will not be a ‘gift that keeps on giving.’

20 Gifts That Keep On Giving

1. Authentic Tasks

2. Learning Space

3. Makerspace

4. Project-Based Learning

5. Blended Learning

6. Coding

7. Student Voice

8. Writing Across the Curriculum

9. Public Speaking

10. Leadership

11. Student Choice

12. Service Learning

13. Digital Citizenship

14. Innovation

15. 4 Cs: Critical Thinking, Communication, Creativity, and Collaboration

16. Formative Assessment

17. Concurrent Credit

18. Whole Child Educational Experience (See ASCD Whole Child Indicators)

19. Soft Skills

20. Classrooms Focused on Student Understanding


As 2016 comes to an end, teachers and administrators will reflect on the future of teaching and learning. There are many gifts that students deserve. As your school staff reflects on transformational teaching and learning, choose a ‘gift that keeps on giving.’ Wagner (2008) defines the global achievement gap as the gap between what even our best schools are teaching and testing versus what all students will need in order to succeed as learners, workers, and citizens.  “No longer an end point in the public education system, the American high school is now being asked to prepare all its students for the postsecondary schooling and training required for full economic and social participation in U.S. society” (Balfanz, 2009, p. 18). Will your students graduate with skills that open doors for future opportunities and economic benefits?

Post a Comment

1000 Characters Remaining

Back To Top