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Cascade Matters is the blog of Cascade Educational Consultants. Cascade has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations and civic development. We are committed to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens. Learn more about us.

Cascade Educational Consultants is an educational consulting firm committed to high-quality equitable teaching, learning and serving environments for all students to succeed in school and in life. Click here to learn more about our services...




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From Survival to Success: 7 Critical Skills

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A colleague recently shared a story of a young man who said where he comes from prepares him with certain survival skills. This got me to thinking about the skills our students gain from their formal education experiences.

Current national, state and local education conversations about student competencies tend to focus on academic achievement rather than skill development.
However, there are alternative voices advocating for skill-based competencies such as the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, the Civic Mission of Schools and Character Education Partnerships.

I keep going back to the statement by the young man about how his environment prepares him to survive. I want to make sure schools do more than promote survival skill-building but focus on those skills that assist each individual to achieve to their fullest and contribute to their community.

Here is my list of those critical skills:
  1. Moral and ethical reasoning skills to act, according to a set of values, appropriately in various situations
  2. Decision-Making skills to effectively analyze information and make decisions accordingly
  3. Collaborative skills to engage with others to find come to mutually beneficial solutions
  4. Inclusive skills to understand diverse perspectives, expand knowledge and take collective actions
  5. Civic skills to understand and exercise the rights and responsibilities of active principled citizens
  6. Communication skills to effectively communicate with diverse audiences using multiple methods
  7. Continuous improvement skills to learn from our experiences so that we increase our capacity to link experience to learning

Of course any list excludes elements that others feel are as critical as those identified; however I believe these skills provide the framework for individuals to develop, progress and succeed as individuals and community members.

About the author: Terry Pickeral, president Cascade Educational Consultants has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations and civic development. His commitment is to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens.
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