In collaboration with the Wellesley Public Schools (WPS), the Wellesley Education Foundation (WEF) brought Ken Kay, CEO of education consulting firm EdLeader21 to give a presentation earlier this month at Wellesley High School, “Preparing Students for Their 21st Century Lives.” The presentation focused on what Kay calls the 4Cs — Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, and Critical thinking — and how to integrate them into the curriculum so that Wellesley students have the tools to succeed in the 21st century.
About 250 community members attended the presentation. It wasn’t a sit back and listen to the speaker drone on kind of meeting. Kay ran things collaboratively, because that’s how he rolls. He asked audience members what they thought the 4Cs should mean for Wellesley students, and the audience wasn’t shy, raising hands and giving opinions in strong, confident voices. It was just another meeting for this crowd of Wellesley parents, a group of seasoned professionals used to collaborating at work and changing with the times, who want their kids to be able to do the same.
How EdLeader21 gets paid
EdLeader21’s fees are expected to run upward of $25,000. That breaks down to $10k for Kay’s work with the district on January 22, and approximately $15,000 for facilitation of three upcoming meetings. Not all the money is coming out of the school budget. Dr. Lussier said, “Ken was here for a full day of work with the district on 1/22. He worked with both the Academic Council (all district administrators) along with leading the keynote for parents. The cost for the day was $10,000. That cost was paid for by a grant from the Wellesley Education Foundation.”
Susan Ryan, WEF Co-President said, “WEF is pleased to have had the opportunity to fund this opportunity for parents and community members to hear about 21st century learning. WEF has been prioritizing innovative educational approaches for the last several years, helping to fund several other initiatives such as the Evolutions program at the Wellesley High School, Project-Based Learning at the elementary schools, and now Ken Kay and Edleader21.”
In addition to the work Kay did on January 22, Dr. Lussier said that Wellesley is paying EdLeader21 “Approximately $15,000 for facilitation of three separate meetings. We are still in the process of raising the funds from multiple sources to defray this cost.” Kay, who said he came late in life to the education field and described himself as “a recovering lawyer,” also appeared as they keynote speaker on the WPS Professional Development Day in November and worked with staff during the day’s afternoon sessions.
Profile of a Graduate, Task Force
Implementation into the curriculum of the 4Cs is one part of the long-term educational goals of the district. Another part seeks community involvement in defining a Profile of a Graduate (POG). WPS wants to put together a clearly defined idea of what the community wants a graduate to know and be able to do. To that end, WPS is seeking interested community members to join a POG Task Force – in particular, students, graduates, parents, educators, as well as leaders from local businesses and higher ed institutions. The “…Profile of a Graduate Task Force will be comprised of 50 community members, students, and staff. We are in the process of assembling the group,” Dr. Lussier said. Some of this work has already begun by WPS education professionals in partnership with EdLeader21 during discussions on integrating the 4Cs into education. That preliminary work is expected to help inform the ideas of a Profile of a Graduate.
The Task Force will meet three times over the course of the spring to help build Wellesley’s POG and will seek additional input before making a recommendation to the School Committee by the end of this school year. The sessions will be facilitated by Ken Kay. Working with Kay and Drs. David Lussier and Joan Dabrowski, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, the Task Force will meet from 4:00 – 7:30 pm on Wednesday, February 7; Wednesday, March 7; Tuesday, May 1.
But wait, there’s more
“After we complete our three task force meetings, we will have a final draft of Wellesley’s Profile of a Graduate that will be presented to the School Committee. This POG definition will lay the groundwork for the next round of strategic planning. We look forward to the next stage of WPS-EdLeader21 partnership as we begin the important work of building Wellesley’s Profile of a Graduate that reflects our community’s values and aspirations. The voices of our community and staff will be critical in charting this course for the future together,” Dr. Lussier said.