Stepping Away from Education Jargon to Dream Big at Newport News Public Schools

I have had the privilege to work with Newport News teaching and learning leaders in every subject area to refresh their PK-12 vision. We worked together to clarify the broader aims in language that is aspirational, accessible, aligned, and actionable.

Take a listen to Tami who is reading the STEM draft that she, Jennifer, Billie and Kevin drafted:

Before: The vision of STEM is to provide equitable access to innovative and diverse learning experiences for all students. Through these experiences, we aim to empower students with the knowledge, mindset, and skills necessary for success in the careers of the future. The board is committed to celebrating diversity and promoting inclusivity in STEM education.

After:

STEM in Newport News Public Schools
Where Every “Why?” Ignites a “Wow!”

Imagine a place where every student’s ‘what if’ blooms into a ‘watch this.’ In our schools, we’re not just learning; we’re igniting dreams with hands-on discovery and innovation. It’s where technology meets tenacity, and today’s learners become tomorrow’s leaders.

Our STEM vision comes to life through five goals which challenge students to:

  • Embrace curiosity and ask questions through a genuine desire to explore and understand.
  • Demonstrate mastery of foundational skills by applying them in STEM experiences that blend academics and the arts.
  • Think creatively by turning innovative ideas into reality.
  • Utilize technology and computational thinking as tools to solve problems
  • Exemplify leadership qualities to succeed in an ever-changing world.

I admit that I got a little verklempt – a little emotional – when I heard Tami read that aloud to 50 other people in a room. The power of what this team of three generated and honed, clarified the imagination and the power, not just to faculty, but all members of the school community. 

Thinking about the distance between their original draft and what they read aloud was just awe inspiring, and it came from them. The words actually meant something as they drafted them, and that level of energy is just undeniable.

This collective vision is the North Star from which individual teachers can lay out existing practice, craft a narrative storyline, and engage with local and global communities to strengthen authenticity and impact. 

For more information in the four a’s — aspirational, accessible, aligned, and actionable — for designing the vision in your subject area or school, reach out for a discovery call.

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