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How Aurora Science + Tech Nurtures Future Leaders with Wayfinder

25 Apr
2024
Wayfinder

Education has shifted. Worldwide, schools are looking beyond rote memorization and standardized testing to hone in on what they can do to truly set students up for success after graduation. Educators recognize that students need more than traditional academic skills to succeed in their post-secondary pursuits, and they’re putting in the work to ensure that the K-12 system stays in touch with their students’ real needs. 

Schools like Aurora Science + Tech (AST) are leading the charge, taking steps toward equipping students with skills that transcend the classroom walls. AST serves middle and high schoolers in grades 6-12 in Aurora, Colorado. As part of the community-oriented and STEM-focused DSST Public Schools, AST is driven by the Core Values of Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Courage, Curiosity, and Doing Your Best. These values encourage AST students to cultivate essential life skills, with a particular focus on social interaction, teamwork, and critical thinking.

Watch the video from Aurora Science + Tech Academy!

 

Wayfinder acts as a driving force behind Aurora Science + Tech High School’s work, enabling educators campus-wide to foster personal growth and critical skill development. As one student puts it, “The biggest skill that we're learning in school is how to be more social and how to work with a team.” There’s a shared understanding at AST that effective collaboration is a cornerstone of success in any endeavor.

Throughout the school day, Wayfinder plays a pivotal role in shaping students’ interpersonal skills by providing varied opportunities to engage in group projects, discussions, and problem-solving activities. As they engage in these collaborative activities, students not only enhance their communication and teamwork abilities but also learn the value of diverse perspectives and collective effort.

Daily Wayfinder activities and lessons instill crucial habits essential for lifelong success. AST teachers and staff use Wayfinder to help students build study routines, manage breaks, and prevent burnout. By instilling these habits early on, AST ensures that students are equipped with the tools to navigate challenges effectively and maintain a healthy balance between academics and personal well-being.

Educators across the school are intentional about creating a supportive community where students feel safe to take the risks necessary to succeed. Faculty members are dedicated to providing students with the necessary resources and mentorship to bolster their paths to graduation and beyond.

The commitment to whole-student development doesn’t go unnoticed around campus. This is reflected in the words of an AST student: “The teachers are truly there trying their hardest to ensure that you are given all the tools for whatever you could possibly want to do after high school.”

In addition to creating a culture of collaboration, AST places a heavy emphasis on cultivating critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Wayfinder facilitates this by encouraging students to approach challenges with creativity and resilience. As one educator articulates, “More than anything, I want [students] to walk away with critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills—the courage to be able to think, ‘Okay, I don't know what the answer is, and I'm gonna work to figure it out.’” 

Ultimately, the AST experience is characterized by a sense of empowerment and resilience. Students emerge from their journey equipped not only with academic knowledge but also with the confidence and skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly complex world. As one student reflects, “If you ask me what being an AST student is like, I know here, I will definitely succeed. I will flourish, and I will grow, and I know people will be there to support me along the way.”

Aurora Science + Tech Academy exemplifies a positive shift in education, prioritizing the holistic development of students through thoughtful Wayfinder integration. By nurturing essential life skills, fostering a supportive community, and promoting critical thinking, AST prepares students to excel not only academically but also as engaged citizens and future leaders. Through the partnership between educators and Wayfinder, AST is paving the way for a new generation of empowered and resilient individuals ready to shape the world.