Santiago Restrepo Londoño
A new strategic plan guiding TCS into the future is being introduced this year with new goals and priorities centered on the students as positive learners and agents of change.
The plan was drafted throughout the 2018-19 school year by Superintendent Ms. Ruth Allen with the help of the TCS community and approved at the end of that year by both the Board of Directors and the Directive Council. The plan encompasses the needs of 21st-century learners while still preparing students to become global citizens.
“Part of the new strategic plan is to incorporate global educational tendencies. We are going to focus on having students be the center of the learning,” Christian Toro, President of the TCS Board of Directors, said.
Some aspects of this new plan incorporate the 1-4 grading scale in HS, changes in electives in MS, and a new library. The new library is the first infrastructure change aligned with the new strategic plan since it was conceived as space were students will Create, Connect and Inspire.
“The first impacts that will come out of the plan consist of a better learning environment for students, more emphasis on innovation and creation, also there will be more focus on collaborative works between different students, even interdisciplinary groups of students,” Toro, said.
Community reaction has been mostly positive since it will help the school transition further into Project-Based Learning and improve spaces for collaboration. Teachers need to teach students how to become more empowered learners and students have to become more responsible and passionate about their work at school.
“The first thing we need to change is the mindset at school, we need to move away from passive learning and move into active learning,” Ruth Allen, Superintendent, said.
The goal is not only to have academically high performing students, but to change the classroom structure with the help of improved curriculum, new infrastructure, and extracurriculars. It will also be exploiting students’ passions through clubs and activities which will benefit the student body. Letting students follow their passions will allow them to create a wider set of skills.
“We want students to take the pathway of their choice. For this, the Curriculum department will employ a school-wide curriculum that is student-centered, and flexible enough to meet the characteristics of all students. We see extracurriculars and co-curricular as components of the school that hit all the strategic priorities,” Trisha Ann Nikrandt, Curriculum Director, said.
This plan will not be due at a specific point in time since it was meant to be more flexible, it will be able to adapt over time and thus have a more significant impact on the community. This was a major change from the 2020 Strategic Plan because it had a very explicit deadline which was 2020 as the name indicates.
“After we accomplish a goal we will adjust the Strategic Plan, the idea is for it to be more dynamic, not just static for a long time,” Toro, said.
TCS will face tremendous changes in order to achieve a 21st-century educational environment for both teachers and students. For some, this will mean letting go of prejudice and opening up to new ways of teaching and learning.
“I think people are excited by it but they fear the unknown,” Allen, said.