Aaron Brengard, Principal at Katherine Smith Elementary SchoolK. Smith School was named a Partnership for 21st Century Learning Exemplar in December of 2014. P21 identified only fifteen schools nationwide for demonstrating excellent 21st-century practices. The scoring considers a commitment to college and careers, sustainability, engagement, equity, and, of course, the evidence of 21st-century skills like collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.We applied for consideration in the spring of our second year of reinvention. With a vision to be a model of excellence in 21st-century learning, we wanted to put ourselves to the test. The goal was to find our if we could measure up to the rigorous P21 standards. A K. Smith team completed the application, and we were thrilled to be selected for a site visit headed by Dr. Helen Soulé. She visited every classroom, interviewed panels of teachers, parents, and students, and collected evidence of our practices. Her feedback was invaluable for us and would have been enough. Though, hearing we had earned the exemplar status was incredible. The honor validates our hard work.This blog is a ten-day series by Aaron Brengard, Principal of Katherine Smith Elementary School in San Jose, Ca as part of the New Tech Network Back-to-School series. Katherine Smith School is a public, neighborhood New Tech elementary school in the Evergreen School District in San Jose, CA.

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