The Downey Unified School District was honored on Capitol Hill this week for its work in preparing students for life after high school, whether in college or in the workforce.
The event was hosted by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21) and titled "Closing the Skills Gap: Stories from the Field."
DUSD was recognized for receiving the distinct P21 Exemplar District designation. The event featured remarks from U.S. representatives Ryan Costello and Dave Loebsack, co-chairs of the Congressional 21st Century Skills Caucus.
Along with Downey Unified, P21 recognized the remaining members of the newest cohort of 21st Century Learning Exemplars, an assortment of schools and districts with programs that demonstrate what successful 21st century learning looks like in practice.
The P21 Exemplar Program, instituted in 2013, identifies and showcases schools that are equipping students with the 21st century skills they will need to succeed in college, career and life. Educators from these Exemplars also led a panel discussion, leveraging their experiences and strategies to operationalize the policies that ensure success for all learners.
"Our exemplars have transformed how our students learn and can excel during college and career, ensuring that critical 21st century skills are a staple of the classroom," said Dave Ross, CEO of P21. "The discussion led by our Exemplars and the leaders of our caucus will inspire other schools across the country to bring 21st century learning to their classrooms."
Selected through a rigorous application process that includes site visits, which occurred last June for Downey Unified, each Exemplar joins a national network that shares best practices to further hone their practice of 21st century teaching and learning. Through the Exemplar program, schools and districts have the opportunity to gain national visibility as a leader in 21st century learning.
Case studies on select Exemplars can be found at P21.org/2016Exemplars.
“It is Downey Unified’s vision to have all students graduate with a 21st Century education that ensures they are college and career ready, globally competitive and citizens of strong character,” expressed Board of Education President Martha Sodetani, who traveled to Washington for the event with fellow board member Nancy Swenson, superintendent Dr. John Garcia, assistant superintendent Roger Brossmer, and Career Technical Education director Phil Davis.
“Being named a 21st Century Learning Exemplar through P21 authenticates the fact that in Downey Unified we are achieving this goal.”