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Greensville County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kim Evans, standing, discusses the state’s recent changes to education to members of the Emporia-Greensville Chamber of Commerce.

You’ve heard of the slogan “Virginia is for Lovers,” well how about “Virginia is for Learners”?

The Commonwealth of Virginia is changing its education policies. Greensville County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kim Evans was the Keynote speaker during the Emporia Greensville Chamber Of Commerce’s recent monthly luncheon.

Evans addressed the focus for this needed change, to Virginia’s standard of learning and graduation requirements that help to modernize the classroom, so students are learning skills for the workplace. 

“We must provide an equitable education for all children regardless of where they live, no matter their race, who their parents are or are not, or their socioeconomic background,” Evans said. “Every child deserves a quality education. It is our responsibility to make sure that it happens.”

Evans took the attendees through a short exercise, she asked them to take a moment to close their eyes and think back to when they were in school.

You should have heard the many chuckles in the room with some trying to figure out how far back they should go. Many seemed to have a hard time just thinking about how long ago they were actually in school. Evans gave everyone a moment and then asked them to share the experience with the person sitting next to them.

“The excitement and enthusiasm that was going on while everyone was sharing their experience is the same excitement and enthusiasm that we are striving to have everyday in the classroom,” Evans said.

Strong content knowledge is important but the jobs of the future are demanding more Evans told the audience. She emphasized that there is a responsibility to equip students with the skills it takes to be strong students, successful workers and thriving adults.

So what are some of the attributes employers seek? Here are a few examples that Evans touched on. Eighty percent of employers are looking for leadership, 79 percent teamwork, 70 percent problem solving, 69 percent verbal communication and 69 percent of employers are looking for strong work ethics.

Education Leaders say the keys to developing real world skills for the workforce align the 5 C’s, critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship skills. The program will be incorporated by teachers for public school classes from kindergarten all the ay up to 12th grade. 

Virginia high school graduation requirements have been revised to incorporate the ensures graduates have the knowledge skills and experienced identified by employers and educators as most critical for life after high school.

For the first time all Virginia graduates will leave high school with life changing work learning experiences that put them on the path for career and economic advancement. The Commonwealth is also updating testing to better track not only what a student knows, but how ready they are to apply their knowledge and skills in the real world. 

This statewide initiative will connect every student with the knowledge skills and real world experience necessary to thrive in the economy of the future.