Why the Critical Skills Classroom?

Competency Based Learning

Competency Based Learning experiences in support of classroom and school change initiatives

  • Because you need to move Proficiency or Competency based learning but you don’t know how and you absolutely don’t love what you’re being given by the big textbook companies.
  • Because you want to do the Maker thing- but you’re not quite sure what that means or how you do it.
  • Because you want to apply Design Thinking to your classroom practice, but it feels too big, too hard,  or too confusing.
  • Because you suspect (or you know) that you’re working harder than your students- and that’s not your vision for powerful teaching and learning.

Whether you choose to start with the  Level 1 Institute, an online course, or the full MEd Program, the Critical Skills Classroom offers you a set of powerful learning experiences in support of classroom and school change initiatives. It is a simple, elegant structure to help ready students for college and careers.

The Critical Skills Program is a mindset, a way of teaching and learning that supports a wide array of school change initiatives including:

  • Maker Movement
  • Common Core State Standards
  • College and Career Readiness
  • 21st Century Skills
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Social- Emotional Learning
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Performance Task Design and Implementation
  • Designing real-world, problem-based learning experiences
  • Shaping safe, collaborative classroom and school cultures
  • Integrating critical skill development with content learning
  • Implementing competency-based assessment practices
  • Achieving substantive and compelling learning for students

Our program faculty and staff are experienced master teachers and leaders who have significant experience and success implementing this Critical Skills Classroom model and have completed advanced Critical Skills and leadership training. This program has been bringing the Critical Skills Classroom to schools throughout New England and elsewhere for more than twenty years.

The Critical Skills

Download a one-page summary of the Critical Skills Model

The Critical Skills were identified through an extensive and unique collaboration among educators, business people, government officials, and community leaders. The work of this taskforce was to examine and articulate the skills critical for success to meet the many demands in today’s complex and everchanging world. These are the skills needed by all graduates from our schools and should be a classroom focus, alongside the subject matter, at all grade levels.

Problem Solving Critical Thinking
Decision Making Creative Thinking
Communication Collaboration
Organization Leadership

Explaining the Critical Skills Program can be tricky. Let Peter Eppig do it in under 3 1/2 minutes

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Critical Skills gave me the framework and the rationale to do what I knew was right for children. It helped me create experiences in the classroom with a larger vision in mind.Bonnie Irwin Fifth/Sixth Grade Teacher, Thetford Elementary School

The Critical Skills Program aligns with Learning Forwards’ standards for professional learning and with the Common Principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools. Download the principles here.

Video Resources