A 21st Century Imperative: A Guide for Becoming a School of the Future

For years, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has examined what works and what doesn’t work with regard to 21st century education. Jobs, communication and society have dramatically transformed over the last 40 years and, with the pace of change only increasing, it is hard to look ahead into next year, let alone what current grade-school students will need to be successful a few decades from now.
Through the support of NAIS, Tony Wagner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education interviewed over 600 CEOs, asking the same essential question: “Which qualities will our graduates need in the 21st century for success in college, careers and citizenship?” Wagner’s “Seven Survival Skills” is the outcome of hundreds of interviews, and adds validity to the case of education reformers around the globe. The long-term skills students need in the 21st century are:
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Collaboration Across Networks and Leading By Influence
  • Agility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Entrepreneurship
  • Effective Oral and Written Communication
  • Accessing and Analyzing Information
  • Curiosity and Imagination
Knowing who our students need to be and not just what they need to know is at the heart of education reform. Our schools are not failing; rather, the skills we learned as students in the 20th century are simply becoming obsolete. This includes earning good grades and scoring high on standardized tests, as these trusted indicators are becoming a distraction rather than a solution. From a broader sense, we find education isn’t simply broken. Instead, modern education is trying to solve a new problem: how to create successful adults in the 21st century. Therefore, this altogether different problem requires an entirely new solution.

The Alexander Dawson School

Welcome to The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain! Located in Summerlin, a suburb of Las Vegas, Nevada, The Alexander Dawson School is a non-sectarian, non-profit school offering students in preschool through eighth grade an inspired and meaningful education. Students achieve their individual potential while savoring life and meeting the challenges of the world.