21st century skills, 21st century competencies… undoubtedly you’ve heard much about them.

As I mentioned in my Annual Progress Report message to the Academy community last Wednesday evening, Kim Cole (parent of Carina ’22) recently sent me a chart that simply and clearly presents a good graphic image of what any number of research education and business groups are calling 21st century skills or competencies.

I hope you’ll take a look at the chart (thumbnail pictured here – click to view the larger, more readable version with the article I referenced).  You’ll quickly note that 21st century skills are comprised of three primary groups – foundational, competencies, and character qualities.  Be careful not to equate the foundational literacies to skills learned in our Lower School program.  Although many of those foundational literacies are first introduced in our Lower School classrooms, others are not.  As students progress through the Middle and Upper School programs, we continue to introduce students to new literacies in computer science, the natural sciences, and history.

By reviewing the chart, you’ll notice the prominent role that creativity plays in the section called “competencies.”  It’s for this reason that in my broadcast message the other evening I choose to dedicate the majority of my remarks to why and how Harrisburg Academy is committed to constructing many learning opportunities for students to use critical  and “deep thinking”  skills to be creative and innovative.

Although the character qualities listed in the chart don’t match up precisely to the15 character traits we promote at Harrisburg Academy, you’ll certainly understand why our commitment to helping students become young men and women of integrity is so central to the Academy’s mission and core values.  As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

Different research education and business groups might create different variants on the chart that Kim Cole forwarded to me.  That’s okay.  What’s most important is the confirmation that I hope you take from the chart and attached article – confirmation that Harrisburg Academy is tooled and geared to preparing students to be successful and thrive in the challenging rigors of our current and future times.