Headmaster Bill Taylor has implemented many initiatives as a means of challenging students to interact with the world around them while developing the 6 C’s: creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, character, and citizenship. A 21st century Trinity-Pawling education encompasses not only teaching these essential skills, but also cultivating new ways of measuring our students’ learning.
Creativity isn’t easy to measure – the scores of standardized testing or multiple choice tests give very little information about what students can do. The teachers at Trinity-Pawling have long sought to create a diverse approach toward assessing student learning. “The expanded focus on project-based and experiential learning builds on this commitment, recognizing that a student’s ability to demonstrate learning and knowledge cannot be limited to the narrow confines of a single approach to assessment,” says Taylor. “Our small classes and relationship-based approach to teaching creates many opportunities for discussion-based activities and collaborative work,” he continues.
Measures of assessment, exemplified in part by Trinity-Pawling’s Effort System, focuses attention on students’ abilities in ways more aligned with how they will be measured out in the world. “Our faculty have a significant opportunity for professional growth as we shift in how assessments are created,” says Taylor. Through professional learning communities, forums, and an in-house Teaching and Learning Committee, the Trinity-Pawling faculty is able to share many best practices for assessing the 6 C’s.
A recent study found that 60% of CEOs polled say that creativity is the most important leadership quality. The value of creativity in the school setting is more important than ever. At Trinity-Pawling, teachers take a holistic approach to nurturing creative thinking. “Synthesis is a highly creative act,” states Taylor. “When we challenge students to synthesize information from various disciplines through the creation of a project, we are nurturing their creativity,” he continues.
The close-knit community at Trinity-Pawling allows students to engage in experiential learning that is both playful and creative. “Play is a creative act,” says Taylor. The 24/7 access allows faculty to foster empathy in their students. “When we challenge students to grow through relationships so that the perspective of the other is deepened through mutuality, we are nurturing their creativity,” Taylor explains.
Creative thinking is important in science labs, in figuring out math equations, for computer coders – it’s part of almost all work in the 21st century. At Trinity-Pawling, young creatives are empowered. “By challenging our students to value and understand that they have been given distinctive gifts and talents that can be invested to guide and shape their growth, then we are nurturing their creativity,” Taylor concludes.