Manifesting the future that students and parents want, while navigating the competitive nature of the world, can seem formidable. Balancing students’ well-being in a holistic way within an environment of constant change is critically important and a fundamental focus at Novella Prep. Through research conducted by Dr. F. Tony Di Giacomo and as informed by his team’s experiences, we explore approaches to education in the 21st century and how those approaches will support students in a changing world.
Education may be seen primarily as a site for the transmission of information, facts and knowledge, but it is also an important place for socialization. Children are constantly learning how to function within the greater social context of the family, peer groups, the media, and other institutions. In reference to education and globalization, Torin Monahan (2005) points out that schools are possibly “the primary location for social reproduction, values cultivation and identity construction,” so schools, more than ever, must take on the responsibility of forming students into globally conscious and engaged citizens.
Globalization has dramatically changed the way we live and work in our now knowledge-based society and, with this change, an urgent need for an increasingly skilled workforce demands that the United States re-imagine its approach to education. To be competitive in a global economy, students in the United States need to become flexible, lifelong learners who adapt to the new challenges that will emerge in college and career.
“Those of us who are passionate about the possibilities of education are summoned to design a mode of learning for a world in hyperchange. We are asked to prepare tomorrow’s citizens not for a single, predefined career until retirement but for a life of accelerating, unpredictable velocity. At the same time, we are responsible for transmitting the cumulative wisdom of the past, the fruit of the finest minds and hearts that preceded us, and for imparting the qualities of rigor and compassion that must be cultivated in order to flourish” (Sexton, 2010).Functioning effectively in a world of “hyperchange” will require knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are markedly different from those required a century or even a half-century ago. Education must provide baseline knowledge about math, science, language, and literature as it always has done. But beyond that, it must nourish students’ abilities to think, create, communicate, and problem solve, as well as foster their innate capacity for tolerance, understanding, and appreciation of multiple perspectives. Armed with a repertoire of these skills and knowledge, students will be capable of facing yet unknown challenges and, as Reimers says, “inventing a future that enhances human well being.”
Novella Prep’s focus on retention, relationships, and responsibility addresses core factors that contribute to student achievement and the foundation on which students develop a holistic approach to school and life. First, memory is an important part of getting good grades, but to know what to retain is to understand how to filter information, analyze data and texts, and develop habits that cultivate real learning which leads to improved grades and test scores. Further, students excel when they have a strong team providing support, each playing an important role. By improving communication, sharing quarterly academic and personal goals, and making sure students receive coordinated and aligned information, they can achieve more. In addition, students succeed when they adopt an attitude where they are responsible for what they are taught. Not every subject is easily understood, but by creating habits that celebrate curiosity, inquiry, and a desire to clarify and correct, students can improve grades and foster strong fundamentals for college and beyond. As we support our students and families, we also look to enhance talents with skills so a student not only improves performance in grade or test scores, but also in understanding interests, passions, and abilities.
Novella Prep’s enrichment programs are focused on optimizing overall performance and growth in areas that will prepare students for college and beyond. The foundation of the programs consists of a series of customizable, student-driven activities, tasks, and goals, based on core executive functioning strategies. Executive functioning is known as “the management system of the brain,” it encompasses a student’s ability to self-manage and enhance their academic and personal behaviors in pursuit of individualized goals. It is a set of mental skills including flexible thinking, self control, and working memory.
Novella Prep’s programs seek to optimize executive functioning and promote a student’s capacity to self-evaluate, learn, and implement key executive functioning skills. These include time management, planning and organization skills, proactive communication, task prioritization, problem-solving, reasoning, and analysis, all essential 21st century skills. Through this foundation of executive functioning skills, Novella Prep supports students as they develop healthy study habits that champion hard work, focus, and discipline.
Novella Prep motivates and teaches students how to achieve their academic potential with refined and healthy study habits. It provides a deep dive into helping students perform at their best by starting from the inside. Novella Prep’s proven holistic method empowers students to be the author of their own plan, incorporating smart tutoring in ways that are effective and efficient. Our goal is a healthy child who finds balance and preparedness for tertiary education and career while honoring the opportunity to grow, to become more informed, and to cultivate personal agency.