"I Can Tell if it's a Community School Graduate"
We often talk about our strong drama and public speaking programs here at Community School. While at first glance these might seem like nice “extras”
that are not really essential to a high-quality elementary school, we like to think about students’ development in the long-term.
Education professionals continue to emphasize the Five Cs—Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Character, and Communication—as essential tools in the 21st Century. And when they discuss communication, they are more and more focused on the kind of communication that we all do every day. Video conferencing, small group presentations, TED Talks, YouTube, presenting ideas at work, speaking in front of large crowds—these are all of the ways in which we adults communicate, and that is what we are training the children here at Community School to do. And we know this training is having a positive effect, not just from what we see here at school, but also from what we hear from others.
In speaking with administrators and teachers at secondary schools in St. Louis it is clear just how important these skills are for our alumni. A teacher at one well-known school in the area said, “I can tell right away if it’s a Community School graduate—they are eager to participate in class, and highly articulate at sharing their thoughts.”
The parent of one young alumna told me, “I’ve never thought of my daughter as someone who would run for class officer, but she ran, and won, largely because of the training Community School gave her!” And we hear repeatedly from schools that our alumni are disproportionately represented among their leaders: Class and Student Body officers, team captains, and club and activity presidents.
Our goal is to prepare our students to be successful in the finest secondary schools and colleges, and in life. And while we can’t know exactly what jobs or opportunities await them, it seems increasingly clear that the ability to communicate with others - in a variety of ways - will be key.