As we round the corner into the 2020s, I am filled with the possibilities of a new decade.
I was reminded over the break of the most-widely-watched (highly recommended if you haven’t seen it). (Here’s an of similar ideas.) I have been a fan of his for quite some time, but particularly moving at the dawn of a new decade were his reflections on the speed of change.
Today, no one currently enrolled at Wheeler was born in the year 2000, and a good number here now were not born in 2010! Yet each of us can likely all remember where we were both New Years’ Eves (1999 and 2009) as if they were yesterday. Think of what has happened in these twenty years – Twitter, Facebook, iPhone, almost all of the true arrival of AI and machine learning, and so much more. Yet, at school, the very place that launches a new generation to make and shape the world to come, the world has largely stayed the same.
As you know, Wheeler’s chief question remains: how can we strengthen and grow Wheeler’s commitment to academic excellence while ensuring that we position our children to take on the lives of meaning in a world fundamentally changed? No longer is school preparing children for a defined set of possible careers as in a game of LIFE (which I love for its innocent simplicity) but rather for a multiplicity of roles, industries and futures that do not yet exist. They will be the leaders of the next generation, and our role is to position them for success in the colleges and universities that look for these young people, and in the world beyond. This is what our parent community should be getting for the commitment they make to us, which is often not an easy one to make given the tuition, and it is the direction that the top schools across the nation are moving or have already moved. Students prepared in this way are what colleges and universities look for because it is what leadership looks like today. It’s an exciting time to be walking this line and to see our faculty, staff, and leadership taking on new challenges while bringing forward all that we love and cherish about what has come before.
“No longer is school preparing children for a defined set of possible careers as in a game of LIFE . . . but rather for a multiplicity of roles, industries and futures that do not yet exist.”