Following years of challenges brought on by COVID-19 and the inequities in education highlighted by the pandemic, decades- and centuries-old educational systems are finally being challenged. The school systems and dynamic leaders that embrace change will succeed and create an educational environment that is more equitable and prepares students for their futures.
A new report from The Partnership for Leaders in Education at the University of Virginia (UVA-PLE), “Exploring New Frontiers for K-12 Systems Transformation,” determined that these challenges have sparked a transformation of education systems in the United States.
“Our New Frontiers report spotlights the most successful education leaders who are courageously rising to the moment and making once-in-a-generation investments and changes to their educational systems for the benefit of their students, their staff and their communities,” said William Robinson, executive director of UVA-PLE and co-author of the New Frontiers report. “Districts that innovate and embrace change will thrive, and the districts that choose to ignore or, worse, resist transformation put themselves and their students at risk.”
In New Frontiers, UVA-PLE identifies four key areas of focus needed for change and innovation in K-12 educational systems:
- Innovative Secondary Models – a commitment to changing the secondary model to enhance student pathways and ensure access to opportunities for every student, along with a district and system recognition that investments in education are investments in the future economy;
- Far-Reaching Academic Acceleration – a focus on accelerating student learning post-pandemic instead of on learning recovery;
- Creative Staffing – new and innovative pathways to recruit, train and invest in teachers and matching education talent pipelines with student needs;
- Equitable Resource Reallocation – rethinking organizational design and resource allocated to align with priority breakthroughs, student needs, and a deep commitment to eradicating gaps and inequality.
UVA-PLE, a leading organization focused on advancing leadership capacity and insights to create transformational school systems, developed the report with research and feedback from nearly 50 education leaders and superintendents across the nation. Those districts and systems have successfully implemented changes and innovations since the pandemic started. The report also includes vignettes, case examples, and recommendations for transforming our systems to better serve students and families.