Preparing Learners to be Future Ready

Preparing Learners to be Future Ready

The Aurora City School District works off of a set belief statements with the first being, “Kids Come First.” The implementation of these beliefs are displayed on a daily basis ranging from making decisions in the classroom to those that impact the district as a whole. Using this simple approach of keeping what is best for kids on the forefront. The school district then developed a new strategic vision in 2020-2021, which was the first year of the pandemic.

You might think that rolling out a strategic vision in the middle of a pandemic would be a terrible idea. However, we couldn’t think of a more important time to make the shift to focus on the whole child and to emphasize the importance of what we call “nurturing the roots” of young people. It all starts with building relationships in order to have a better understanding of what young people know and are able to do. 

The definition of learner can mean different things to different people, so we wanted to be clear that the term “learner” for the Aurora City School District carries with it some key characteristics including the importance of continual growth. Learning, through the lens of this vision, is less about gaining knowledge through curriculum transfer and more about being able to build on that knowledge and apply it so a young person is better prepared for life. Although developing learners is the main focus of our strategic vision, we are also targeting six competencies to nurture within young people attending the Aurora City Schools.

Michael Roberto, Superintendent of Aurora City Schools

Here’s what people and stakeholders in our community have stated are important for young people to develop in grades preschool through 12th.

1. Empathy

We all know relationships matter and the first step in building relationships is empathy. As one becomes more empathetic, an awareness of others begins to develop which helps to make those relationships stronger.

2. Critical Thinking

In an ever-changing and complex world, one has to be able to take in information, analyze it, and decide what to do with it. One of the hallmarks of a critical thinker is the ability to stay objective.

3.  Balanced

Being objective also means keeping things in perspective. As all people develop the social-emotional ability to form positive relationships while being self-aware, they walk that balance and lay the groundwork to be lifelong learners.

4. Resilient

Just as balance equates to perspective, resilience is analogous to persistence. When all people can be put in situations that cause productive struggle, they begin to develop the ability to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. This leads to being more resilient rather than giving up when one doesn’t know the right thing to do, but instead starts to think of what is the next best thing to do.

5. Collaborative

We all understand the power of collaboration and learning from each other’s experiences. The importance of collaboration can be summed up by the African proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

6. Innovative

To be innovative doesn’t necessarily require cutting-edge technology, but instead it means looking at things in a different way. As all people, both young and adult, begin to bend what they know, break from what is typically done, and blend ideas from different perspectives, they become more innovative in their approach.

 With this strategic vision, the great young people and supportive families in our district , and the people who work and learn in each of our school buildings at all grade levels PK-12, we are confident the ACSD will be able to design and support learning environments that meet the needs of all young people even during and what we hope this year will be on the other side of a pandemic. Visit the six competencies in the strategic vision on

 By Michael Roberto, Superintendent of Aurora City Schools

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