How are students in Virginia being provided with more deeper learning opportunities – opportunities to master rigorous core academic content; to engage in critical thinking and problem solving; to experience teamwork and collaboration; to become effective communicators; to learn how to learn; and to cultivate an academic mindset? On this study tour we examined how administrators and teachers are being prepared to provide deeper learning experiences to students.
Participants visited the Hopewell and Cumberland school districts. Through conversations with students, teachers, administrators, and business leaders, as well as explorations of classrooms, participants witnessed first-hand how to create a teaching and learning environment that supports the development of deeper learning competencies and incorporates hands-on learning that gives students industry-specific skills that prepare them for careers.
Participants also heard from educators at the College of William and Mary, to learn about redesign efforts around school leadership, and how state leaders are thinking about the in-service and pre-service work necessary to transform school leadership. We also learned about the Virginia is for Learners Innovation Network, which is working to build capacity in school divisions for innovation.
High-level state and district education policy leaders joined the study tour to share with participants an understanding of the state policy conditions that support the promotion of deeper learning and the Profile of a Graduate at the district and state levels. The policy discussions focused on effective and scalable models, capacity building, professional development, funding, curriculum, instruction, innovative assessments, and data and reporting systems. State teams enjoyed time to reflect on necessary policy conditions as it relates to their own states, as well as learned from colleagues in other states.