21st Century Skills and the Challenge 21 Program
The Eureka Union School district recently developed a dynamic vision for the future of our district and community. The visioning process has helped us to refocus on the importance of preparing our students to be successful in the 21st century. This means that in addition to teaching content standards, we also need to help our students to become life long learners who are skilled at collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.
In order to help us prepare our students for the future, we have developed the Challenge 21 program. The Challenge 21 curriculum is focused on the California Content Standards as well as an established set of 21st century skills.
Life and Character Skills
21st century students will need to exhibit strong life and character skills. They will need to take initiative, learn to set goals, and plan effectively. They will also need to demonstrate strong leadership and cross-cultural skills. 21st century learners need to demonstrate the characteristics of responsible students and citizens.
Communication and Collaboration Skills
21st century learners need to be effective communicators and need to have the skills to work effectively with others. Effective communication takes place in writing as well as in the ways that students present information verbally. Being an effective collaborator means being a contributing member of a team and being able to ask and answer critical questions. Leadership skills are also important to communication and collaboration.
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills
Students who are skilled at critical thinking and problem solving are able to clearly identify and define problems, and evaluate options for addressing problems. They are able to engage in inquiry by generating critical questions to help them increase their knowledge. They learn to clearly justify their arguments and points of view, and can synthesize information to create new or heightened meaning.
21st century students demonstrate the ability to use information, media, and technology skills to increase and refine their knowledge. They use available resources effectively to research, analyze, organize, and evaluate information.
Creativity and Innovation Skills
Creativity and innovation skills will be increasingly important in the 21st century. Students will need to think creatively, work creatively with others and implement innovations. To develop these skills students learn to imagine, brainstorm, design, create, invent.
Students in Eureka Union School District classrooms are exposed to content on a deep level and are provided meaningful opportunities to apply knowledge and skills. In order to engage students in 21st century learning, our classrooms are equipped with the very latest in educational technology.
If you have any questions about the Challenge 21 program, please feel free to contact Dr. Heidi Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding and Support
Much of the funding for technology, teacher training and support staff required to offer these learning opportunities is generously donated by our community through the site PTCs and the Eureka Schools Foundation.