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Module 1

Students in the 21st Century


What do young people need from their schools today to help them succeed in the future?

Students need to be deeply engaged in their own learning, so they can build their creativity and self-reliance, discover what they love, and apply what they know to the challenges that matter to them.

By understanding the knowledge and skills young people need to thrive, we can start to design learning environments that truly prepare them to lead the world.

When it comes to preparing students for the future, it’s time to stop thinking about college and career in either/or terms. All students need to be prepared for both, so they are fully prepared for life. We need to accelerate learning for all students, especially those who are already behind when they enter high school, so they are truly ready for what comes next.

  1. How is the youth population changing in your community? Is it growing or shrinking? Becoming more diverse? How might it change in the next several years?
  2. What demands and opportunities will today’s teenagers encounter in higher education, the workforce, and civic life? What kinds of skills and attributes are growing in importance?
  3. Are the high schools in your community preparing students with the knowledge and skills they will need? Are all students—including Black and Latinx students, English language learners, and students with disabilities—getting the same strong preparation?
  4. How did high schools in your community respond to school closures? Did existing disparities become even greater?
  5. As educators and community members, how can we address systemic racism and long-standing biases, including our own, so our high schools empower all students?