By Dr. Heather Tracy, Ed.D.
The 21st Century has brought with it amazing advances in technology and artificial intelligence. Many philosophers and analysts have asserted that society has changed more rapidly in the past 20 years than in multiple centuries before it. With an ever-networked globalized society and instantaneous diffusion of information accessible to more and more people, how could this not affect human development? How do our youth adapt and adjust to such significant and rapid changes?
Education became a formalized institution to help prepare people to get jobs and become workers. But we no longer live in the Industrialized Revolution era. Social analysts believe many of these skills that are still being taught in formalized education are becoming less important if not obsolete. With Google at our fingertips, who needs to memorize the battles of the Civil War? Or formulas for math equations? Or diagrams of the nervous system? We can just look them up!
What we do need is the ability to know what our goal is, to map a plan to reach the goal, to know where to find and filter reliable sources, to be open to dialoguing differing perspectives, to discern fact from fiction, to synthesize information in a systematic way to analyze complex problems, and to be creative, innovative, and persistent in finding possible solutions - both for our own personal lives as well as for our professional and academic endeavors.
This is why Supportive Immersion theory proposes the PROPS skills as a guide for building 21st Century skills for integrative growth and the “self-generating function.” The self-generating function is all about being able to be a lifelong learner who is an active agent generating solutions for complex and novel problems in our rapidly changing society.
The PROPS stand for:
SIGA believes that education has a duty to help our youth build these PROPS skills. SIGA also believes that youth learn best when problems are relevant, timely, and a part of our experience. Our curriculum, activities, and relationships are all geared towards modeling PROPS skills and guiding students to empathically connect, collaboratively empower and immerse in novel experiences that stimulate learning and growth. The PROPS skills will prepare SIGA graduates to be active agents in their own lives and the world around them.
by Elissa Nadworny, published on May 15, 2018 on PBS / NPR "Mind Shift"
This post is just a little reminder for us to take into consideration the importance of students "owning" their learning - not just the learning about content areas that national standards deem important, but also about the content areas that are inherently important developmentally on a day to day basis in any student's life. SIGA's "Immersive Citizenship" course incorporates psychology, sociology and wisdom from interdisciplinary studies. IC is incorporated into all four years of the SIGA curriculum in order to help students gain deeper understanding of themselves, their relationships, their communities, and the world at large.
Two quotes sum up the point of the article and the reasons that SIGA developed an Immersive Citizenship class:
by Dr. Heather Tracy, Ed.D.
I came across this report and had to post it. Why? Because this just further validates why a high school like SIGA is needed and why it will be so beneficial its students development. For almost 2 decades now, our educational systems have been focusing on test scores and GPAs. Students have been forced to compete for numbers. The result of that (and a lot of other cultural changes in our society) has not been what people had hoped. Instead of kids being clearer on what they needed to do to "achieve," we've reduced kids to numbers and data and neglected the very characteristics and tools that they will need not to get INTO college but rather to be successful IN college and AFTER college - not just as professionals, but as human beings, parents, friends, partners, and authentically confident, resilient, caring human beings.
SIGA is dedicated to not reducing our students to numbers, rankings, and college "acceptances." Our students will achieve in all of those areas, but we will not validate them based on those standards. SIGA will let our students be human again - not judged by a perfect profile on social media or the highest test score, but rather active agents in their own lives, artists crafting better worlds, and resilient, confident youth who accept themselves whether or not a college admissions committee (who does not even know them) accepts them. SIGA will do - as this report suggests... (see below)
Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework (University of Chicago)
"It characterizes the experiences and relationships youth need to develop into young adults who have agency, an integrated identity, and the requisite competencies to successfully meet the complex challenges of young adulthood and become thriving, contributing members of their communities."
Jenny Nagaoka, Camille A. Farrington, Stacy B. Ehrlich, and Ryan D. Heath with David W. Johnson, Sarah Dickson, Ashley Cureton Turner, Ashley Mayo, and Kathleen Hayes. (June 2015). Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework. Executive Summary. The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. pp.9. https://consortium.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/publications/Exec_Summary_YAS_Framework.pdf
We're more than just a high school where you show up from 8am to 3pm to take classes and prepare for tests. The SIGA high school experience values the holistic nature of human existence and development. We mature and grow best when all parts are engaged. Our students have all the necessary "parts" to be competent, confident, resilient citizens who ethically and productively contribute to their communities. But in a more traditional, "pressure cooker" type of academic setting, some of those parts are not nurtured or are ignored to the detriment of the students' overall health and integrated maturation.
SIGA provides the environment that best engages all of those "parts" to integrate them on a path towards holistic growth and mature young adulthood. SIGA is proud to be able to offer challenging and interesting college prep core classes in a way that complements (instead of dominates) the rest of a student's life and their relationships, activities, interests, passions, explorations, and challenges. Better yet, we provide the experiences that help develop the relationships, activities, interests, passions, explorations and challenges! (Yes, I know that was redundant, but it needed to be emphasized!!)