May 08, 2014

Education That Works: Educational Leaders, the Economic Development Corporation, and United Way

Collaborating for Education

United Way of Cass-Clay is teaming up with our local school districts, educational leaders, the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation to prepare today's students for tomorrow's workforce. 

Twenty-first century businesses demand 21st century talent. That’s why United Way of Cass-Clay, the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation (GFMEDC)  and area K-12 educators  are collaborating to bolster education and outreach opportunities for teachers and students to meet the workforce demands in their dynamic and growing communities.

Today, United Way President Sher Thomsen was a guest speaker at the Economic Development Corporation's Annual Meeting Event where she shared why and how we are partnering to help local educators, students and employers. 

The goals of our work together include:
• Professional development for current educators
• Preparing tomorrow’s educators differently
• Communicating 21st century skill developments with stakeholders

The superintendents of schools from Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo are working with United Way and the GFMEDC to enhance K-12 curriculum with project based learning that includes a stronger focus on measuring the “four Cs” – communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

These 21st century skills better prepare students for working in today’s technologically advanced world. “Our school district’s mission is to develop the maximum potential of every learner to thrive in a changing world,” said Lynne Kovash, superintendent of Moorhead Area Public Schools.

“Project-based learning gives students a problem, and teachers guide the students through the process of finding solutions while incorporating teamwork. Educators are learning new techniques to teach students, and the critical factor is tying those techniques into the existing curriculum,” said Jeffrey Schatz, superintendent of Fargo Public Schools.

“Through our connections with GFMEDC and conversations within the community, we’re recognizing the demand for these types of skills,” he said.

Professional Development
For three days each summer, area K-12 educators become students. A Summer Tech Camp brings nearly 500 teachers and administrators together each year to learn from each other and become introduced to new technology. The camp allows them to refine and implement the new knowledge in classrooms in the fall. United Way is proud to collaborate to make these opportunities available for our local teachers.

Communicating our Message
United Way is working with the group to explain project-based learning and the four Cs to stakeholders. The communication plan includes a video project that explains and highlights the changing landscape of education and its importance in preparing the future workforce. “GFMEDC and United Way are two organizations representing the broader community that have reached out and offered facilitation, dollars and support to foster needed change,” said David Flowers, superintendent of West Fargo Public Schools. “They are helping create opportunities for teachers to learn more about local businesses and the workforce needs so educators can make learning more relevant. They support project-based learning, on real-world problems, that make learning more relevant and engaging for students.”-

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