Big shifts in education: Becoming a school of the future |

Big shifts in education: Becoming a school of the future

Last week, Park City Day School was honored and thrilled to host Pat Bassett as he spent a few days in our Park City community. Mr. Bassett, president of the NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) and one of the nation’s leading voices in education, has toured, observed and spoken with schools in 34 states and 36 countries. He spoke to our parent community and board of trustees and delivered his acclaimed address on "The 5 C’s + One" and "Big Shifts in Education for Schools of the Future."

The "5 C’s + 1," in Pat’s words, are "the critical skills and values the 21st century will demand of us and reward." These C’s are Collaboration, Creativity, Critical thinking, Communication, Character and Cosmopolitanism (or Cross-Cultural Competency). He emphasized that quality schools need to teach these essential skills and values to our children to produce ethical and successful contributors and leaders in families, their communities and the world.

He also shared the MacArthur Foundation’s six "big shifts" in education at all levels. Successful schools are shifting their educational focus: from knowing to doing; from teacher-centered to student-centered; from the individual to the team; from consumption of information to construction of meaning; from schools to networks; and from single-sourcing to crowdsourcing. (For more detail and expansion on Pat’s thoughts, watch his TEDx talk on YouTube at: .)

Mr. Bassett closed with the thought, "If you are not a school of the future, you won’t be a school in the future". As trustee chair and a parent of three school-aged children, I had to ask myself: Where is Park City Day School on this journey into becoming a school of the future?

Market research has shown that families choose independent schools primarily because they perceive the quality of teaching to be exceptional and the school’s culture to be especially conducive to their children’s academic and character development. In fact, Mr. Bassett told a gathering of PCDS parents and faculty that "it is the culture of a school that has the greatest impact on a child’s educational experience and academic success even more so than the curriculum."

Park City Day School combines a culture of character building, collaboration and mutual respect with a curriculum designed to nurture and develop creativity, independence and academic achievement. Our time with Mr. Bassett reinforced my belief that PCDS is making the right choices for the future of our students.

Kristi Cumming is the board chair of the Park City Day School

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