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Instructional Tolerance

October 6, 2013

Last week, I had the opportunity to talk with leaders from some the top school districts in the United States (I argue the world) about issues related to developing 21st Century Skills.  Over 100 districts from all over the country gathered in Chicago for the EdLeader21 Conference.  For two and half days we shared ideas, discussed challenges and developed strategies – all focused on the 4-C’s – Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity and Communication.

Many of the districts represented are like Saline Area Schools.  They have strong student achievement and by most traditional measures are seen as being “excellent” districts.   However, we also share an interest in pushing for enhancing student opportunities related to the 4-C’s.

One concept that resonated with me was the need to give our staff – our talented faculty – permission to explore strategies and assessments that focus on developing the critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication skills we say we want.   The term to describe this freedom/permission was called “instructional tolerance”.

It’s clear for Saline Area Schools to advance in the area of the 4-C’s we will need to develop the ability to allow for instructional tolerance as our staff shift from traditional/standardized assessments to rigorous and more authentic assessments.

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