8 Pillars For K-12 Transformation

The Organizational Pillars

The eight pillars serve as the guiding principles for insuring focus on the vision the “Discovery and Innovation” model of K-12–as practiced at schools like the Tracy Learning Center. The pillars are a direct outcome of the change drivers and the economic trends. They provide a compass to direct the course of innovation and a framework for developing the mission and goals of the Tracy Learning Center. When there is constant turmoil, organizations are susceptible to random change that often takes them away from their original intent unless direction is set by a strong vision supported by guiding pillars. The eight identified pillars become a screening device for proposed projects or direction as the Tracy Learning Center implements its vision.


  • Desired Value: Learners have a choice of when, where and what to learn.
  • The Challenge: Curriculum has to be open-ended and available through a variety of means in order to customize learning for the individual. Learning must be transformed from teacher-centered to student-centered, from instruction to construction and discovery, and from sequential to hyperlinked.

Relevant, Challenging Curriculum

  • Desired Value: Curriculum must be relevant to the needs of the individual earner and must be in tune with the future needs of the world.
  • The Challenge: Curriculum designers must establish a new standard for skills and content, that keeps in mind the rapid global changes and the need to maintain a current knowledge base. This will shake the foundation of previously defined standards and will be resisted. This paradigm shift is a challenge initself, but the even greater challenge is deciding how best to present newlydefined skills and content to a divergent group of learners. Curriculum must bechallenging to the individual learner. For this to be the case curriculum must be customized to address learning styles, previous mastery, pacing, and feedback.

Technology as a Tool

  • Desired Value: Current technology must be available to all students as the means for accessing information and making meaning.

             The Challenge: The knowledge base of humanity is increasing exponentially. As a result, people can constantly expect to reinvent their knowledge base. Students are entering an age of information explosion. They have to see learning as engaging and exciting, entertaining and necessary. The world itself is the greatest resource for learning and cannot be contained within any school. Today, mobile workers are 72% of the knowledge workforce. This workforce will explode to over 119.7M people by 2013. Students need technology to access global sources of information quickly and easily, anytime or anyplace, in order to constantly update their knowledge and be prepared to become workers in a mobile workforce. School must not only maintain a current inventory of technology, but they also must have high speed access to fulfill the promise of technology.

Collaboration and Diversity

Desired Value: Team work among those with differentiated skills and talents results in exceptional products and confident learners/contributors.

The Challenge: Diversity is key to staying ahead. Competition in today’s marketplace is challenging. Team effort and global cooperation replaces the once valued isolated mind set. E-mail, chat rooms, instant surveys, video
conferencing, and shared digital workspace are all communications tools that facilitate team work and shared knowledge. Within institutions the old system of hierarchy is collapsing to allow for interaction based on one’s contributions rather than years of experience. Teachers as part of the community of learners need to realize the valuable contribution that students can make. When this is realized, the role of the teacher will change.


Desired Value: Partners mutually benefit and support one another.

The Challenge: Internet 2 will stretch the walls of the Internet as we know it today and bring even greater avenues for multi-user domains (MUD) which will evolve into virtual meeting and learning places for team experiences that globally network groups of people. Internet 2 is only possible with the contributions and efforts of seemingly competitive groups. This is a good example of the power of partnership. Partnership is synergistic in nature.

Both parties benefit and support one another for a mutual goal. The new challenge for Internet 2 is providing broad-based access for full inclusion rather than a deeper digital divide.

Individual Responsibility as Part of a Learning Community

Desired Value: community.

The Challenge: Life-long learning requires an individual responsibility for appreciating the value of the old and the importance of the new.

Learners need to realize they cannot learn everything; they need to learn how to prioritize and focus their efforts. . Play and healthy living are an integral part of maintaining a successful balance. However, in today’s society finding time is the greatest challenge. As each individual dedicates himself to continual learning and renewal, so does a community. It is the cumulative effect that creates a community of learners.

Healthy and life-long learners are a benefit to the community


Desired Value: Responsible citizens are stewards of the earth and their

The Challenge: Children do not automatically empathize or feel responsibility for their community. In order to prepare children for global citizenship, we must facilitate the development of their skills, awareness, and determination for this stewardship. As the world shrinks through technology, global citizenry emerges, creating an even greater need for stewardship.

Innovation, Change and Renewal

Desired Value: Innovation and change are necessary for continual renewal.

The Challenge: Twenty-first century enterprises will succeed through the continual process of renewal of their products, their systems, their processes, their factories, their marketing and their people. Management has to be
mercurial, quick and willing to change. In an environment of learning, ideas never become static. Change is needed to survive. Reinventing is the key.

If one has just developed a great product, the next goal is to develop a better one before the competition does.


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