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21st Century Skills

February 17, 2009

Today, a small group of Saline Area School staff had the opportunity to visit the Google offices and then the new University of Michigan Ross Business School building. Both represent environments where our students will be expected to succeed in the 21st century.

We also had the chance to hear about the Ann Arbor Public School Options program from Ms. Susette Jaquette, the director of the program.  Ms. Jaquette shared the history of how the Ann Arbor Public School system explored online learning and what they have acquired from the unique experience.  She was open about some of exciting opportunities the virtual world has to offer.  She was also candid about limitations and cautioned us to be guarded as we explore possible scenarios for Saline.

We then toured the Google facility in downtown Ann Arbor. I once again leaned our ever gracious host, Michael, to be our tour guide and explain the skills needed to be a successful employee at Google.  His insight into the collaboration, analytical and communication skills needed prompted some thoughtful discussion from the staff. We also noted the colorful and flexible environment that seemed to make the employees feel valued and creative.

We then walked across campus to the new University of Michigan Ross Business School building.  This state of the art facility opened for classes on January 5th.  Our tour guide, Mr. Chuck Amyx, provided us with an in-depth look at the 250,000 square foot facility.  He noted that this design fosters collaborative group work in either small break out rooms or large spaces with flexible furniture configurations.  It was interesting to watch the flexible flow of students working and socializing in the main atrium.  The facility has a top rate cafe and fitness area to help keep students and staff in peak mental and physical condition for learning.

The day ended with many questions for us to consider related to the type of opportunities and experiences our students should have before they leave us for higher education and/or the 21st century workforce.

More to come…..

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