Superintendent's Message

Dear Parents and Guardians,

“One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.” --Elbert Hubbard

This quote was taken from the book, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. The book is an excellent resource for understanding the role of technology and how it has impacted economics and education.

One of the points made in the book is that “hard-to-measure skills like creativity and unstructured problem solving are increasingly important as machines handle more routine work.” Education systems that were designed to teach the 3Rs (reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic) are no longer adequate. Today’s workers require a much more complex set of skills than those required of workers in previous generations.

In order to adapt our programs to sufficiently prepare our graduates to be successful in the 21st Century, the district held a series of meetings that included parents, students, teachers, support staff, business leaders and community leaders. We examined skills that are necessary for thriving in today’s workplace and then prioritized four key attributes that we believe are necessary for all students to develop in preparation for college and careers. The skills we identified are as follows:

  • Problem Solving and Critical Thinking,
  • Adaptability and Flexibility,
  • Communication, and
  • Teamwork and Collaboration.

These four areas spell out the word PACT, so it is fitting to refer to their development as our Eagle PACT. We believe that students who add these skills to the acquisition of content knowledge will be well-equipped to succeed in college and in the workplace.

For these reasons, our use of technology will focus on the development of these attributes in our students. Rather than using laptops as a replacement tool for the same tasks and processes that students were expected to accomplish in generations past, we will actively seek out new ways they can use their digital tools to innovate, create, solve problems, communicate, and collaborate.

It is important for anyone who is supporting students at home to recognize that our attempt to cultivate these four areas must involve risk-taking and repeated attempts in a way that rote memorization of discrete facts never did. Therefore, as you support your children and encourage them to complete problems or projects that have been assigned to them, please recognize that the tasks may be complex and sometimes frustrating. Your encouragement, support, and confidence in their ability to rise to the challenges put before them will go a long way in helping them to develop the grit, stamina, and can-do attitude that is necessary for their success. You serve a key role in helping us fulfill our vision of empowering all students to achieve their fullest potential.

Thank you for all the support you have shown thus far in our use of technology here in the Cocalico School District. I look forward to seeing many student accomplishments and successes in the year ahead!

Ella Musser Signature
Dr. Ella H. Musser