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Did you know . . .

According to the 2006 report, Are They Really Ready To Work?, employers are no longer looking at just the "content literacy" of their employees and prespective employees. More and more, employers are looking for applied skills called "Soft Skills".

This in-depth survey of 461 business leaders conducted by the Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and Society for Human Resource Management reveals that while the three "R's" (reading, writing, and arithmetic) are still fundamental to every employee's ability to do the job, employers view "soft" skills as even more important to work readiness. The report also finds that younger workers frequently lack these skills, which include:
  • Professionalism or work ethic
  • Oral and written communication
  • Teamwork and collaboration skills
  • Critical thinking or problem-solving skills

At METRO we are committed to ensuring all of our students have the knowledge and applied skills neccessary to be successful in the 21st Century. It is for this reason, the "soft skills" are an integral part of learning at Metro and integrated into students' final grade. We are confident you will be able to see and hear the difference our integrated focus on the "Soft Skills" makes on our students.

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21st Century Learning

Application Info:

The 2013/2014 Metro Schools of Design lottery application window is between February 11th, 2013 and April 12th, 2013. Students submitting applications after April 12th, 2013 are placed at the bottom of the grade-level waiting list (if any). These students are selected only if seats remain unfilled after all lottery applicants have been selected.

Metro Schools Online Application

Enrollment Info:

There are NO tests or other academic prerequisites for acceptance into the Metro Schools of Design. Students must live in the CCISD attendance zone or be children of district employees.

Students who are interested in attending the Metro Schools of Design will complete an application and participate in the annual lottery selection process. The lottery selection process randomly selects students to fill open seats for both campuses. Once all seats are filled, any additional students are placed on a waiting list and are contacted as seats become available.

The 2013/2014 Metro Schools of Design lottery application window is between February 11th, 2013 and April 12th, 2013. Students submitting applications after April 12th, 2013 are placed at the bottom of the grade-level waiting list (if any). These students are selected only if seats remain unfilled after all lottery applicants have been selected.

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21st Century Learning

Integrates Knowledge and Applied-Knowledge Skills


21st Century Learning

The Metro Schools of Design are committed to helping students build a solid foundation of skills that will ensure their success in the 21st Century. Metro has identified five core 21st Century skills, called “Soft Skills”, that are integrated with each courses' content literacy. Creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and professional ethics; these "Soft Skills" that are assessed across Metro's K-12 continuum. These skills ensure that students, in addition to learning the hard content of the courses, are learning how to think, create, collaborate, and communicate effectively with their peers and community.


Weight: 60%-70%

Content Literacy

Learning @ Metro

Metro students talk about the impact that the Soft Skills has had on their learning.

Definition: The learner is able to demonstrate mastery of the core content with a depth of knowledge and skills necessary for success in the 21st century.


Just like every other student in Texas, Metro students must demonstrate mastery of their content standards. These state standards, called Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills (TEKS), ensure that every student is equipped with the knowledge skills required for success in the 21st Century.

Creativity

Creativity | Video Overview

Creativity | Video Overview

Definition: The learner is able to analyze problems from a unique perspective and explore innovative design ideas aimed at real-world solutions.


Creativity Rubric

The Skills of Creativity

Embracing Ideas

This skill focuses on the students receptiveness to new ways of thinking. Is the student able to accept the ideas of others, and are they able to question and challenge those ideas in a non-judgmental way? Lastly, we want students to play an active role in fostering a “culture of critique” where students work is continually refined and improved.

    Essential Questions

  • Is the student open or receptive to new ideas from the classmates and teachers?
  • Is the student questioning & challenging new ideas in a non-judgemental way?
  • Does the student foster culture of critique in group/class?
Perseverance

With this skill, we hope that students see the value of learning from their mistakes. Instead of being discouraged or frustrated by mishaps, we want our students to see their mistakes as opportunities to improve themselves and their work.

    Essential Questions

  • Do individual and/or group mistakes have a negative impact on the student’s work?
  • Does the student see mistakes as an opportunity to improve their work?
  • Does the student encourage others to see mistakes as opportunities to improve?
Generating Ideas

A central focus of creativity is the ability to come up with new ideas. So, by “generating ideas,” we are referring to process through which the students create new ideas. Is the student able to various techniques like brainstorming or mind-mapping to help them come up that next big idea? More importantly, are students able to pull together (synthesize) various ideas to create even better one.

    Essential Questions

  • Is the student able to create new and/or inventive ideas?
  • Does the student use different techniques to help produce new ideas?
  • Is the student able to pull together existing ideas to help him/her generate even more ideas?
Innovation Skills

The ability to create imaginative and/or inventive solutions to the various problems we face in our professional and personal lives. At METRO, we encourage our students to explore and apply their ideas creatively, in order to create better solutions for the future.

    Essential Questions

  • Is the student able to produce imaginative and/or inventive products/solutions?
  • Does the student’s work demonstrate imagination and ingenuity?
  • Is the student willing to explore and apply creative ideas or do they limit themselves or the classmates only to existing ideas?
Improving Ideas

No idea is perfect, but they can be improved upon. We want our students to be able to analyze and evaluate their ideas to determine how they may hone and refine those ideas, and also which ideas are worth pursuing. In other words, we want our students to know that every idea has the potential to be great if they continue to work on it.

    Essential Questions

  • Is the student open to refining ideas, products or solutions?
  • Does the student use a process to refine ideas, products, or solutions?
  • Does the student analyze and evaluate ideas to determine which are best to pursue?
  • Can the student explain his/her process of selecting the best ideas to pursue?
Applying Ideas Practically

Simply having good ideas is not enough. If we are unable to find ways to translate those ideas into tangible, real-life products and/or solutions, then our ideas are meaningless. METRO students are always encouraged to make their crazy ideas applicable to the task at hand.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the student understand that creative ideas need practical applications?
  • Does the student use various search methods to find practical applications for creative ideas?
  • Does the student find practical applications for creative ideas?
  • Can the student explain the creative process that produced their final product?
Contribution*

*This skills is considered a skill of Creativity, but is graded as a skill of Collaboration. See description in Collaboration.

Communication

Communication | Video Overview

Communication | Video Overview

Definition: The learner is able to clearly convey views and ideas effectively in written, visual and verbal formats in a way that exudes confidence and is relevant to a given audience.


Communication Rubric

The Skills of Communication

Interpersonal Skills

It is paramount that all students learn how to interact within the basic social norms of communication. They must be able to speak when it is their turn and NOT talk over others. Furthermore, students must be able to make meaningful contributions to group discussion and do so in a socially appropriate way.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the students adhere to the basic “norms of engagement”? (e.g. taking turns, speaking one at a time, not interrupting etc.)
  • Does the student participate and/or make a productive impact on group discussions?
  • Is the student open or receptive to new ideas from the classmates and teachers?
Active-listening Skills

Active-listening is an important skill for students to learn and exhibit. Here, we want to ensure that students are giving their full attention to really listen and hear what other are saying to them.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the student put aside distractions to focus their attention on the person speaking to them?
  • Does the student provide nonverbal cues like eye-contact and head-nods to show the speaker he/she is listening?
  • Is the student able to ask clarifying questions and paraphrase in response to what they hear from the person speaking to them?
Verbal Skills

Students must be able to effectively communicate with others using the skills of verbal communication such are speaking rate, enunciations, and pause for effect. They must be able to speak clearly, and effectively choose and use the correct words to express their ideas.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the student put aside distractions to focus their attention on the person speaking to them?
  • Does the student provide nonverbal cues like eye-contact and head-nods to show the speaker he/she is listening?
  • Is the student able to ask clarifying questions and paraphrase in response to what they hear from the person speaking to them?
Nonverbal Skills

Students must be able to effectively communicate with others using the skills of nonverbal communication such as body language and facial expressions. They must be able to provide eye contact to the person they are speaking to and use an appropriate tone of voice.

    Essential Questions

  • Is the student about look at the person they are talking to and speak with an appropriate tone of voice?
  • Does the student demonstrate effective use of a variety of nonverbal skills?
  • Can the student explain to others what nonverbal skills they are using and why they have used them?

Professional Ethics

Definition: The learner is able achieve success by setting high standards of excellence for himself through self-discipline, work ethic, honesty and integrity.


Professional Ethics Rubric

The Skills of Professional Ethics

Time Management

Ensuring that tasks are completed on time or in a timely manner is an essential part of Professional Ethics. Here, we are looking at the student’s ability to meet project deadlines and to remain on task with little to no redirection.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the student allow themselves to be easily distracted from the task at hand?
  • Does the student meet project deadlines, ensure all work is completed on-time?
  • Has the student developed or used a systems to help ensure all of the work is completed on-time?
Initiative

Student at METRO should know that you should not ONLY do the things asked of you. In fact, it is important to voluntarily take on responsibility that will help themselves and/or others improve. We want our students to demonstrate initiative by taking on new responsibilities, facilitating group discussions, and actively seeking to discover new local and/or global resources.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the student only take on tasks assigned to them by their teacher and classmates?
  • Does the student volunteer to do more or look for opportunities to help their group without being asked?
  • Does the student look for and/or use new tools and resources to improve their projects?
Organizational Skills

Being organized comes in various forms and shapes, but is an extremely valuable skill used in every work environment. METRO students should know where to find what they need to find, when they need to find it.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the student know where to access information and materials when needed?
  • Does the student have a system which helps them to know where to find their materials?
  • Is the student able to explain to others his/her system of organization?
Accountability

We all know that choices have consequences, but more than this, it is important that we hold ourselves accountable for the decisions we make whether they be good or bad. It is important for student to follow through on the commitments they make to others, and to take responsibility when they do NOT follow through on those commitments.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the student do what he/she says they will do?
  • When not following through on their commitments, does the student accept responsibility for their actions?

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking | Video Overview

Critical Thinking | Video Overview

Definition: The learner is able to use analytical thinking to solve problems and generate new ideas based on information gathered from observation, experience, reflection, reasoning or communication with others.


Criticial Thinking Rubric

The Skills of Critical Thinking

Use of Reason

We want our METRO students to be well-reasoned decision makers. In other words, we want them to sufficiently think through their problems before arriving at a conclusion.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the student arrive at their conclusions without any real, relevant evidence?
  • Is the student able to draw from available evidence to make specific and/or broad conclusions? (i.e. use deductive and/or inductive reasoning)
Use of Questions

METRO students are always encouraged to question and/or challenge the validity of the information being provided to them. We want our questions to make sure that the information that informs their decision is relevant AND reliable. Furthermore, students should be able to continually pose questions that lead their group toward a collective solution.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the student pose questions that may lead their group towards solving the problem at hand?
  • Does the student continue to pose questions as more data becomes available?
  • Does the student pose open-ended questions or simply offer surface-level “yes/no” questions?
Evaluation of Resources

We live in an age where quite literally, “the world is at your fingertips”. With a click of a button, students can access a wealth of information. This is why it is of dire importance that students analyze and evaluate the relevance and accuracy of every source from which they receive information.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the student utilize information from multiple sources?
  • Does the student question the relevance and accuracy of every source?
  • Is the student able to make connections between information found in multiple sources?
Feedback

Receiving feedback from others is an important part of improving our work, and is an essential element of METRO’s “culture of critique”. METRO students are expected to listen to and reflect upon the feedback they receive from other peers and/or professionals. The feedback they receive from others may and sometimes is what helps to make their products the best that they can be.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the student take feedback into consideration in order to improve their projects?
  • Does the student actively seek out feedback from their peers and/or adults/professionals?
  • Is the student about to explain to others the impact that feedback had on their designs?
Stewardship

We want our METRO students to understand that the choices they make have an impact on others. Because of this, students are expected to willingly explore the possible impacts and/or implications of their group decisions/conclusions.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the student know the impact that their decisions have on others?
  • Is the student willing to explore possible impacts/implications that their decisions have on others?
  • Is the student willing to allow his/her final decisions to be affected by the impact and/or implications of that decision?
Contribution*

This skill is is considered a skill of Critical Thinking but is graded as a skill of Collaboration. See description in Collaboration.

Applying Ideas Practically*

This skill is is considered a skill of Critical Thinking but is graded as a skill of Creativity. See description in Creativity.

Collaboration

Collaboration | Video Overview

Collaboration | Video Overview

Definition: The learner is able to work effectively in a variety of groups and contribute to discussions, support peers, come to consensus and achieve the group goals as defined by the project or task.


Collaboration Rubric

The Skills of Collaboration

Cooperation

Much like the business world, it is essential that students are able to work well with others. This is why METRO student’s are expected to be receptive to different ways of thinking and value the skills and knowledge of other group members. Also, students must actively share--not hoard--their own knowledge and skills.

    Essential Questions

  • Is the student able to work well with all of his/her group members?
  • Is the student receptive to different ways of thinking?
  • Does the student value the knowledge and skills of other group members?
  • Does the student encourage a culture of knowledge sharing, not hoarding?
Conflict Resolution

Conflict is a natural part of life and the creative process. We want our METRO students to be comfortable with handling conflicts, working towards resolution, and encouraging others to do the same.

    Essential Questions

  • Is the student willing to participate in conflict resolution efforts?
  • Does the student encourage group members to participate in conflict resolution efforts?
  • Is the student able to facilitate conflict resolution efforts among other group members?
Contributions

It is NOT okay to let everyone else do all the work for you. In the real world, employers expect their employees to make valuable contributions to their business. At METRO, we want our students to do the same in their project groups. We want students to offer their ideas, provide feedback to other, and do so in a respectful manner.

    Essential Questions

  • Does the student offer their thoughts, ideas and/or feedback to others?
  • Are they able to do so with tact and respect?
  • Is the student able to expand on the ideas of others in a positive, constructive way?
Support

Students as members of their project groups must be able to work toward the collective success and achievement of themselves and others. With this skill, students offer their support and encouragement to help themselves and their classmates be successful in their project/class work.

    Essential Questions

  • Is the student encouraging success and/or achievement for themselves?
  • Is the student encouraging success and/or achievement for their fellow group members and classmates?
Consensus Building

This skill focuses on the decision making process. When disagreements within a project group arises, it is easy for students to feel discouraged and decide to act on their own. This is why we want METRO students to learn the skill of building consensus among their group members so that, although they may NOT agree with every decision their group members make, they are comfortable enough to negotiate and compromise towards an agreeable solution.

    Essential Questions

  • When disagreement arises, does the student act alone without help or agreement from their group members?
  • Is the student willing to negotiate and compromise to work towards a better solution?
  • Does the student adhere to group decisions even when not in agreement?
  • Does the student encourage consensus building within their group?
Content Literacy Creativity Communication Professional Ethics Critical Thinking Collaboration
Corpus Christi Indedpendent School District

Metropolitan Schools of Design

Metro Schools' Mission: Nurturing creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration by design.

Metro Schools' Vision: Global learners who lead with the passion to create, the persistence to innovate, and the confidence to design new possibilities for the future.

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