We want, at a minimum, to be sure that all high school graduates are ready to succeed in the two-year and four-year college or technical programs that will prepare them for both work and further education.
But that is not all we want. We want students whose mastery of the subjects they have studied runs deep—they have the kind of deep understanding of those subjects that will enable them to learn other things easily when they need to and to apply what they have learned creatively and effectively to a wide range of problems and challenges. We want them to be able to synthesize what they have learned from many domains as they address those challenges and to analyze the challenges they face so that they can address them. They will have to be very good communicators, in many mediums. They will need to be both disciplined and creative at the same time. They will need to be able to set a goal, develop a plan, and work toward it.
But we want far more than that for our students. They need to learn how to lead and how to be good team members. We want them to set high standards for themselves and to be prepared to work hard to achieve them. Their character matters a lot to us. We want them to know right from wrong and to do the right thing when it is not easy to do. We want them to take pleasure from serving others and being contributing members of society. We want them to be tolerant and inclusive. We want them to be tough and kind.
School is about a lot more than just classwork. It is about all the kinds of learning that need to take place to develop graduates who will succeed.
NISL’s Strategic Intent
If students attend schools that:
- Have instructional systems that are rigorous, aligned and coherent,
- Provide all students with equitable opportunities for learning,
- Engage in high-quality teaching,
- Are organized as high performing professional work environments, and
- Have leaders who behave ethically and professionally and expect the same of others, then they will graduate college and career ready consistent with our vision.
If we provide district and school leaders with tools, resources, and guidance based on NCEE’s research on high performing education systems and NISL’s research on leadership development from other sectors, then they can create systems in which all schools are at least as effective as schools in the highest performing countries.
If we partner with districts in building their capacity to develop and support leaders throughout the system, then they can make and sustain change at scale.
Furthermore, if states want to drive and sustain system change at scale, NCEE and NISL can help provide the necessary policy advice and capacity building to do so.