Innovation is key in education today, and in looking at how education will evolve in the days to come.
That was the main message of Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield as he addressed the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce at its South Hall Business Coalition breakfast Thursday.
He called Hall the “most innovative school district” in Georgia, stating there are 21 programs of choice within the system, including the three international baccalaureate programs at the high school level.
Schofield brought up Principal David Moody from World Language Academy to demonstrate his point.
Moody’s school consists of kindergarten through eighth grade, teaching lessons bilingually. It was recently named a Georgia School of Excellence.
“Our goal is that (our students) will become bilingual and multicultural,” Moody said. “We teach the same curriculum as the rest of the state. We just teach a large portion of it ... in Spanish, where there’s no English used by the teacher.”
“And incredible things happen when we teach a kid a language,” Schofield added. “Their brains start to function differently.”
Schofield also asked Laurie Ecke with the system to speak about the schools’ Honors Mentorship Program, which matches high school students with career experiences and opportunities.
From the beginning of his discussion, Schofield stressed that the task of educating children truly belongs in the hands of the parents.
“The primary educator of boys and girls still should be moms and dads,” he said.
“Somehow in the last 75 years, those of us that are in education and those of us that are in government have taken on this mantra that somehow, we know better than moms and dads.”
One audience member inquired about whether curriculum should be based on demographics, or if it should be more uniform across states and the country.
“I’m assuming you’re alluding to the Common Core movement,” Schofield said, adding that what it boils down to is what “stuff” educators should be teaching their students.
“I’m not here to argue whether Common Core is good, whether it’s the right stuff,” he continued. “I don’t know what the right stuff is anymore. But let me tell you what we better be teaching kids to do if we want to be successful in the future. We better quit worrying about whether it’s Chaucer, ‘Beowulf’ or Mark Twain that we’re teaching them, and we better teach them how to think.
“We better teach them how to be problem-solvers. We better fill them with the spirit of being innovators, entrepreneurs and creators, and quit fighting about the stuff because we’ll never get the stuff right.”
Schofield also mentioned the district has added about 400 new students this school year, a number that was anticipated based on past projections.