President's Corner

Preparing Kids to Lead the World
By Deborah L. Kerr/School Administrator, November 2019

TODAY’S 1ST GRADERS will be the Class of 2030. Will we have prepared them well for the world they will inherit?

With a global economy relying on innovation, complex social, political, scientific, health and environmental issues demand that we change our definition of student readiness. We not only must ensure students master rigorous academic content, we also must develop their critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.

Two powerful initiatives focus on preparing our kids to lead the world through transformation, community engagement and futuristic thinking.

» Redefining Ready! Reading Ready!, AASA’s national initiative, stresses research-based metrics to more appropriately assess students’ readiness for college, career and life.

Across the country, well-intentioned educators use standardized tests to promote and assess student learning.

However, we know our students are more than test scores or single data points. In fact, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, more than 1,000 colleges and universities no longer base admission decisions on ACT/SAT scores. Higher education leaders are realizing that a test score is a narrow assessment of a student’s potential. Standardized tests also may create an admissions barrier for minority and low-income students, failing to measure their full potential.

Because students learn in various ways, they should be afforded opportunities to demonstrate global readiness in various ways. The new readiness indicators more accurately reflect the educational landscape of the 21st century. Multiple metrics include Advanced Placement courses, Algebra II, early college credits, industry credentials, attendance, grade point average and community service.

Visit to learn more about Redefining Ready! and to explore the skills that better reflect student potential for success as productive global citizens.

» Portrait of a Graduate. What are the skills, knowledge and dispositions our graduates need to be successful in an ever-changing world? Portrait of a Graduate is a design process developed by Battelle for Kids, a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, that partners with EdLeaders21 (a national network of schools) to support trans-formation using PoG. The online tools at help districts engage the entire community in designing and adopting a PoG.

As part of Brown Deer School District’s strategic plan, our community is developing a PoG. Research shows that engaging students in their own learning increases attention and focus, motivates students to practice higher-order thinking skills and promotes meaningful learning experiences. Recognizing the importance of student voice, Brown Deer’s PoG incorporates input from our high school students.

Twelfth-grade students in a government class were asked to reflect upon who they were as learners at this time in their lives. After discussing their aspirations with peers, they worked together to create a 2019 PoG using the online tool. The six top competencies the students identified were critical thinking/problem solving, leadership, communication, creativity/innovation, flexibility/adaptability and empathy.

Our nation’s schools must provide students with rigorous academic programs and personalized and career-specific learning experiences, along with social and emotional skills that prepare them to be globally literate in an ever-changing world. Together we can create a new future for our students to lead a world that will be in their hands. This is global literacy.

DEBORAH KERR is AASA president in 2019-20. Twitter: @DrDLKerr