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Thursday, August 26, 2010

A 21st Century Education Innovation

Does Lifeplan have a place in the emerging 21st century educational environment? Yes -- big time!

Lifeplan is designed for the way today's young people learn, offering both a contextual and cooperative learning platform. Facilitating a Lifeplan class, we educators bring "our" hindsight that leads to the kids' foresight and allows them to develop true insight about how to create a successful plan for life.

Lifeplan also answers today's challenge for "predictive analytics" - which is simply a way of asking, "does it work?" Over the past decade, the California Mentor Foundation has conducted the four largest outcome surveys of their kind documenting the benefits of mentoring. The incredibly positive results show that of kids with a mentor:

  • 98% stay in school 
  • 98% do not become a teen parent 
  • 97% do not join a gang 
  • 89% do not use drugs

Now add the Lifeplan development process. It augments mentoring relationships, deepens parent interaction, and supports our educational system in a relevant and purposeful way. With Lifeplan, I'm confident we'll see even more significant positive outcomes for our young people.

Educational advocates also insist that 21st century educational efforts support young people gaining "critical, creative, social, and courageous" thinking. Lifeplan supports the development of each of these.

For example, the program brings kids a world of relevant assets they can use to build their personal plan. Assets such as the Peer Learning Network, iTunes University, Academic Earth, YouTube University, Common Sense Media, The Foundation for a Better Life, YouthNoise - and more each day. Young people use these assets to build the literacies that will enable them to thrive in life. The entire process requires kids to use their critical, creative, social, and courageous thinking as they create a personalized Lifeplan unlike any other. It's quite magnificent to watch.

Teaching the Lifeplan program this year, I'm convinced that this process for guiding young people as they develop a plan for life is the most potent youth development tool I have seen in my 45-year career.

So where does Lifeplan sit in our exciting, innovative, 21st century educational environment? Take a look -- it just might be at the head of the class.

All the best,


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