Advancing 21st Century Learning and Leadership
We believe every child, regardless of zip code, deserves to attend a great school.
We are dedicated to translating the latest education research into practical solutions elementary and middle school leaders can use to “fast track” academic progress. Our efforts support school leaders as they work with their communities to create a 21st century vision for their schools, setting the foundation for relevancy. It is also an important step in creating a culture and context for students to become enthusiastic life-long learners and leaders.
In 2016, this research continues to focus on four areas:
- Adding meaning, rigor and STEM to classrooms to improve instructional leadership and make learning more exciting, alive, and relevant
- Using neuroscience research to accelerate learning
- Leading schools to excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
- Promoting Heart Centered Education (our signature approach to social emotional learning focusing on compassion, courage, confidence, consciousness, and community) to equip students with the intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills needed for success at school and throughout their lives
Approach to Change
Today, school leaders are bombarded with expectations: improving academic performance; keeping schools safe and secure; and implementing federal, state, and district mandates. These expectations put extreme pressure on principals and teachers to excel. Being average is not considered good enough. High-performing schools are pressured to keep getting better. Struggling schools—whether they be urban or rural, high-poverty or not—must improve. No excuses. However, this high-pressure environment with such a heavy focus on academics is not a sound approach to improving academic gains, attracting the best and brightest teachers and administrators to education, or meeting local, national, or global needs.
CEI agrees with the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ Ontario affiliate, the Ontario Principals’ Council (Canada’s education is ranked among the world’s best) that principals, teachers, and schools need support—not critiques and punishments. When CEI assists school leaders in creating and implementing solutions, we strive to uplift principals, teachers, and students—not fix them or document all the ways they need to turn around. We build on their strengths and interests, even as we collaborate to introduce innovations and improve practices:
- Many schools are gems and are shining examples of what is and can be. These schools continue to evolve as they are highlighted and recognized for their greatness.
- Some schools are struggling “diamonds in the rough.” These are schools filled with students who at their core sparkle with curiosity and amazing creativity and talents. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and other initiatives are vital to the future of these students. The principals who lead these schools entered the profession to make a difference and many are making headway even when faced with some incredible odds.
Vision for Teaching and Children’s Rights
We believe students should expect that their teachers and principals will be caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable about learning and teaching. They have the right to be educated in safe environments by adults who are skilled, enthusiastic, and culturally sensitive. Teaching is both an art and a science, and schools need to be structured to support both—with leaders who are visionary and yet practical.