Strategic Focus

by Adam Dubé, Head of School

Focus. Vision. Insight. Foresight. Hindsight. We use many words related to the act of seeing when analyzing our behaviors and actions. A manager who leads her company to success is said to have great foresight. A person who lacks insight easily sees the faults in others, while ignoring those in himself. Though hindsight is said to be 20/20, I’ve repeated enough mistakes in my life to know it’s not quite that perfect. A person with a vision has the unique ability to see things as they might be, rather than how they currently are.

At Columbia Independent School, our school adopted a new Strategic Focus last spring. The four areas related to this focus are: Academic Programs; School Community; Teaching and Learning; and Upper School Program.

We chose the word “focus” for several reasons. First, the ability to focus means seeing things clearly, and often requires adjusting or adapting your perspective to the current conditions. Focus is also an intentional act in which we turn our gaze in a specific direction. Finally, focus is the ability to ignore peripheral distractions that might cause us to shift our view from what’s at the center, which for CIS is preparing our students for college and beyond.

Over the next four blog posts, I will discuss the four areas of our Strategic Focus, the related goals, and how CIS is addressing each.

Does college prep (still) matter?

by Adam Dubé, Head of School

Over the past several years, there has been quite a bit written about the demise of higher education and the benefits of attending college. There are, not surprisingly, compelling arguments written from both sides of this divide. While some argue that college is little more than a mechanism for “signaling”, others point out that the lessons learned in college go well beyond the taught curriculum. A third argument is that the advent of online learning and the marshaling of technology resources on behalf of the learner will simply render obsolete college as we know it. Certainly, we can see this battle being played out in our own community with the reduction of state funding for our land grant university.

An increasingly globalized world, powerful new technologies, and the rapidly changing needs of employers and the skillsets their employees must possess lead to the conclusion that college is not immune to the changes that affect so many other aspects of our world. If this is true, then does college prep still matter?

I would argue that it does, increasingly so. As schools prepare students for what is an uncertain future career, the foundation upon which future skills are built becomes increasingly important. A liberal arts curriculum with an emphasis on science, math, languages, and social studies, and an equally robust emphasis on social/emotional learning is critical in preparing for college as it is today, but also as it could be (or not) in the future. If college changes, or goes away altogether, then the preparation students receive at CIS only increases in importance, rather than decreases.

In my next post, I will explore this topic further and the ways in which CIS is specifically preparing students for this multifarious world they will inherit.