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21st Century Learning Skills Summit to be Held in Columbus

Published on March 15, 2010
Ashland University

3/16/10 ASHLAND, Ohio --Named as a "leadership state" with the national Partnership for 21st Century Skills, the state of Ohio has made a commitment to transform the public education system, improve the college readiness of students and build a globally competitive labor force.
To kick off this commitment, an Ohio Summit on 21st Century Learning Skills will be held on May 4 at the Crown Plaza Hotel Columbus North at 6500 Doubletree Ave. in Columbus. This Summit is co-hosted by Ashland University and the Ohio Department of Education.
"We are encouraging school districts to form District Leadership Teams to attend the Summit so that they can prepare their districts for integrating 21st Century Skills programs into this coming school year," said Russell Harris, director of Economic Education at Ashland University's Columbus Center for Economic Education. "Teams may include student leaders, parents and teachers, building administrators, district administrators, board members, local governmental officials and local business leaders. By including a wide spectrum of stakeholders, it is possible to create effective role models and decision makers and build the consensus for change that will be necessary to integrate the 21st Century Skills framework into every school."
Harris said the statewide summit is "the kick-off event" for the 21st Century Skills Program in Ohio and the Ohio Department of Education and Ashland University, along with the Mid-Ohio Educational Service Center, the School Study Council of Ohio and the Upper Arlington School District, have teamed up to support this important initiative.

"Effectively integrating technology into the teaching and learning processes will deepen and enhance students' learning. Students will be challenged to think entrepreneurially, problem solve, take risks, work together and explore knowledge within the context of the world around them," he said. "The classroom and school building, in a student-centered 21st century learning environment, are transformed into nurturing, exciting and stimulating spaces. The educators in student-centered 21st century learning environments work collaboratively to think, learn, grow and lead as professionals. These are big changes - with hopefully big results."

John Dowdell, who is director of the Gill Center Outreach at Ashland University and is working with Harris to coordinate the Summit, said the 21st Century Learning Environment means redesigning the curriculum; incorporating essential skills like cooperative learning, creative problem solving and developing community responsibility.

Dowdell said the Leadership Teams at the Summit will meet experts from across the nation who have real experience in planning for and integrating 21st Century Skills programs in their schools.

"Teams will learn how to align district vision and goals in a transparent manner to all stakeholders. Building a community consensus around the 21st Century Skills that students must possess is critical to success," Dowdell said. "By weaving the major strands together, participants will be able to integrate the essential building blocks of standards and curriculum, professional development, learning environments and performance assessment to support 21st Century learning in their districts."

The cost to attend the Summit is $75 per person or $200 for a district team of three. Attendees also will have an opportunity to earn professional development credit from Ashland University.

The summit will begin at 9 a.m. with a keynote speech on "Presenting Systems Planning and Resources" by Ken Kay, president and co-founder of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and will conclude at 3:30 p.m. at the close of the wrap-up and challenge by Eric Fingerhut, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents.

Other agenda items include morning breakout sessions on Curriculum by Mary Jo Conery, assistant superintendent for 21st Century Learning, Catalina Foothills School District in Tucson, Ariz.; Professional Development by Christopher Corallo, Ph.D., director of Staff Development for Henrico County Schools in Richmond Va.; and Public/Private Funding Collaboration facilitated by Bill Hiller of the M.H. Jennings Foundation and Paolo DeMaria of the Ohio Board of Regents.

A working lunch will include a keynote by Deborah Delisle, superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio Department of Education, and comments by Stephen Millett of the State Board of Education.

The afternoon breakout sessions will include sessions on Learning Environments by Christian Long, a national expert on designing learning environments; Assessment by Carla Williamson, executive director of the Office of Instruction in the West Virginia Department of Education; and a panel discussion on Ohio School District Journeys.

Those with questions can contact Harris at A website,, has been established and provides information and conference agenda. The site also is set up to handle initial registration information for individuals.