Sunday, May 03, 2009

Talking Alumni Blues

Almost missed posting today because I was at an event at school.

We throw an annual Country Fair at John Carroll and this year, one of our teachers put together a music stage full of student and local bands as well as teachers' groups. I did a solo set of electric blues following a great set of Irish and Scottish ballads performed by an ensemble led by one of our art teachers.

One of the great things to see, despite the rain we've had all day, was the number of alumni who showed up to support the current students as well as their former teachers. I think it's really important for both our current students and our alumni to see us as real people and not just in the confines of the classroom.

Been thinking about alumni alot recently because we are entering into the week where we start evaluating Senior Projects. Many alumni have supported our Seniors as mentors and it's really a great way to make connections between students recent and past. Those connections are what allows a school to fit into the larger community.

A lot of people have been discussing community and the larger role of schools recently. There actually still is an idea out there that schools aren't predicated on the concept of test scores, but that schools are foundational as the places that instill a understanding of and sense of power in democracy.

And I think that's where 21st century learning fits in perfectly.

The Internet provides access to information. Any student in just about any public library in this country has immediate access to almost all of the information that humanity has produced over the last 5000 or so years. So it becomes a matter of what to do with it.

And that's where alumni mentoring programs fit in perfectly.

We often approach education from the point-of-view of creating and training new professional teachers. But what about the greatest resource our schools produce: alumni. Our alumni are going to be entering into a wide variety of careers. Careers that operate within the reality of a 21st century digital world.

So why not activate that alumni connection and help former students create authentic bonds with current students.

It is authenticity that we're going for, isn't it?

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