The Blacktop Blog

You may have heard warnings from educators and workforce experts that our children need to improve their 21st century skills in order to find success in this increasingly growing and changing society. They are quick to point out that without these skills, children will be unable to successfully participate in the global economy and will find themselves ill-equipped for college and their future careers.

Many parents mistakenly believe that because their schools offer computer classes and have integrated technology into the curriculum, their children are being adequately prepared. But a 21st century skill set extends far beyond the scope of purely technological expertise. Most schools are not doing enough.

So how can you be sure that your child is developing the proper skills in an educational environment that will ensure that he or she will thrive in the digital information age? Some essential outcomes you should look for in your child’s education include the following:

Learning Skills

  • Critical Thinking
  • Creative Thinking
  • Collaborating
  • Communicating

Literacy Skills

  • Information Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • Technology Literacy

Life Skills

  • Flexibility
  • Initiative
  • Social Skills
  • Productivity
  • Leadership

21st Century Learning Skills

Quality learning and innovation skills are vital to ensure that students are prepared for the increasingly complex life and work environments they will face in the 21st century. A student's skill level can be a good indicator of whether or not that student will be prepared for a fast-moving, technologically advanced world.

Appropriate learning skills include a focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. Ask your school administrator to articulate how their programs accomplish this. 

21st Century Literacy Skills

Literacy is more important than ever, as the number of information media increases and technology continues to develop at a rapid pace. Although today's children live in an environment with easy access to an abundance of information, they must be prepared to filter, evaluate, and apply the information they access. They also must be equipped to anticipate and adapt to rapid changes in technology, and keep pace with the ever-increasing speed with which information comes their way.

Students should be trained to become literate in the various information media available and proficient in their application. To facilitate that, educators must have a solid understanding of applicable media and the skills required to use them, and be trained to impart these vital 21st century literacy skills.

21st Century Life Skills

While learning and literacy are paramount to a successful education, you cannot underestimate the power of solid life skills as a context for success. Today’s children need to develop thinking skills as well as the social and emotional competencies required to navigate complex work environments and face the challenges of living in our world. The essential life skills students should be learning include:

  • Flexibility & Adaptability
  • Initiative & Self Direction
  • Social & Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Productivity & Accountability
  • Leadership & Responsibility

Partnership Between Parents & Educators at Almaden Country Day School

As a parent, how can you do more to help your son or daughter develop these 21st century skills and provide them with the best possible environment for learning? It is important to ensure that your child is attending a school that integrates development of these skills into its curriculum and shares your vision for the success of your child. 

Almaden Country Day School is a K-8 independent school. Our mission is to discover the gifts in every child, and we value the role that parents play in this process. Our parents understand that they are part of a learning partnership to prepare students for the future. We rely heavily on parent involvement in the various school programs that we offer. Parents are also key contributors to our vibrant community and our culture of academic rigor, character development and the joy of childhood that makes our school a unique and special place for our students and families.

How ACDS Equips Students for the 21st Century

Almaden Country Day School (ACDS) is an independent, coeducational, nonsectarian school located in San Jose, California that offers programs for students from 4 years of age through 8th grade. For 35 years, ACDS has offered an extraordinary learning environment where children grow into confident, prepared learners and go on to thrive in high school, college, and beyond. Our students are among the happiest and most accomplished in Silicon Valley, successful in large part due to the 21st century skills they master in our classrooms, clubs, and activities.

The Mission Skills: Almaden Country Day School’s Innovative Measure of Success

ACDS is extremely proud of our students’ accomplishments, as measured by conventional methods such as grade reports, standardized test results, and participation in a wide range of activities in and outside of school. On average, 95% of the students who apply to private high schools from our eighth grade class are accepted. In high school at at college, ACDS graduates consistently get involved in every aspect of school life and report a high degree of satisfaction as well as proficiency. 

At Almaden Country Day School, we believe that success is about more than just academics. In order to cultivate young people with relevant skills that allow them to seek solutions, interact collaboratively and respectfully, and persist through adversity, we’ve implemented an innovative new measure of “success.” ACDS is the only independent school in Silicon Valley that assesses six essential 21st century skills in our students, or what we call our Mission Skills. These skills are curiosity, teamwork, resilience, ethics, creativity, and time management. Teaching these vital skills, and measuring their growth in our students, is a reflection of the balanced educational experience we offer.

While ACDS will always ensure that our students develop outstanding academic skills, it is through exposure to a wide range of learning experiences that we give students the tools to be their best.  These include opportunities to try (and fail) in a supportive, high-challenge, low-stress environment, and frequent interaction in collaborative, project-based activities that foster curiosity, creativity, teamwork, and confidence.  We believe that is what drives our future innovators, community leaders, and visionaries. 

With our rigorous standards and complete measure of success, you can be sure that your child is receiving the best 21st century education. Contact us to learn more about Almaden Country Day School’s philosophy on the importance of 21st century life skills, and to take steps to start your child on the path to success.