Epic School Partnerships uses the Four Keys to support schools as they equip students with the skills they need to be a lifelong learners and to succeed beyond high school. In it’s simplest form, we refer to the Four Keys as Think, Know, Act, Go. In other words, students ready to be lifelong learners have the ability to THINK deeply about what they are doing; KNOW contextually why they learn; ACT purposefully to achieve their goals; and GO successfully through life’s transitions. The model provides a shared language that districts, schools, teachers, students, and families can use to organize student learning. One of the ways we use the Four Keys is as a framework that schools and districts can use to develop environments in which ALL students are prepared to succeed beyond high school. Using the Four Keys as a lens allows school and district leaders to examine existing efforts, resources, initiatives, and programs in terms of how balanced their approach is to supporting and preparing all students.
Last week, Matt Coleman and I visited Everett Public Schools in Washington state to introduce several high schools to the Four Keys and facilitate a strategic mapping workshop. In this session, educators identified the programs and practices already in place in their schools that support the development of the Four Keys in their students. In Everett, as we often find when working with schools, there are already many successful programs and initiatives helping students develop the Four Keys. One of their primary discoveries was that there are opportunities to strategically create shared language between programs and practices that are emphasizing the same Key, for example between AVID and Naviance which both help develop students’ transitional knowledge and skills (GO).
As always when we work with schools, we are reminded that the expertise to solve the complex challenge of preparing ALL students is in the room – it’s a matter of taking time to quiet the noise and focus your combined energy to create solutions specific to your context. Our role is simply to facilitate, equip, and empower schools to tap their creativity and innovation, at the same time as they empower those same things in their students.