Intern View: Learning at Learning 2025 National Summit

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Intern View: Learning at Learning 2025

By: Kennedy Miller, student at the University of Maryland, print and digital publications intern at AASA

social team

This past week, I had the opportunity to join AASA at the Learning 2025 National Summit. Inspirational, forward-thinking educational leaders from some of the top districts in the country attended to discuss innovative practices and the future of education. After years of distanced learning, webinars and virtual connections, it was wonderful to see everyone in person.   

I sat in on multiple  Demonstration System presentations. AASA, in partnership with the Successful Practices Networkand Battelle for Kids recognized 13 schools as ‘Lighthouse’ systems, serving as models of positive change in public education.

dan schulerI heard from the energetic and animated David Schuler, superintendent of High School District 214 in Arlington Heights, Ill., and former AASA president. His district aims to reshape what “ready” looks like across the country for students and is future-focused, getting students ready for not only college, but careers and life. “Students can only dream what they can see,” said Schuler. Students can explore post-secondary career opportunities and visit colleges with their families. College isn’t for everyone and it’s important for school leaders to recognize this and support students heading toward multiple future life paths. 

 I also listened to Ann Levett speak about the work she does as superintendent of Savannah-Chatham County (Ga.) Public Schools. Levett wants students to be prepared to do one of four things after graduation: enroll in a post-secondary education; enlist in military services; get employed; or become an entrepreneur. She brings learning alive by providing real-world opportunities through local partnerships. For example, students at Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools have the chance to sit in on surgeries, drive forklifts and grow their own food in gardens.    ann levett 

 I had the honor of meeting Levett and sharing my own high school experiences. In high school, I had planned to pursue a career as a physical therapist. I had the opportunity to attend a cadaver lab and shadow medical practitioners as part of my school’s partnership with a local university. This experience was essential in showing me what I didn’t want to do — and that’s half the battle. 

Attending a post-secondary education was my personal path after graduation. However, that isn’t the case for every student. Districts at the Learning 2025 Summit recognize this and provide resources to prepare students for wherever their lives may take them. Schuler emphasized in his presentation that graduation rates don’t matter. What matters is what students do and who they become after they walk across the stage. 

I wrapped up the week by attending the closing keynote session with Robert Peters and Ray McNulty from the Successful Practices Network. In their inspirational speech, they encouraged school leaders to reflect on the best practices they learned from other leaders during the week. 

I learned that education is a lifelong process, that some of the best learning opportunities happen through real-world experience, and that making connections and building relationships is essential for emotional and intellectual success. I look forward to checking back in next year and seeing the progress school leaders made. 

closing keynote

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