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Findings from Wenatchee Learns Identity Conversation

You are viewing a generic version of the Identity Findings Report. A personalized version of this report is available to all participants who provided contact information, which shows how their input informed the findings. If you believe you should have received a personalized link but have not, please contact us by email.

Beginning last Fall, the Wenatchee Learns project asked members of the community to share what they care about most when it comes to local learning (and why) and what they want our local learning system to do for us. This page reports what we learned.

  Click (or tap) the information icons to learn more about any of the headings below.

Each of the underlined headings on this page has an information icon (info) next to it. Click (or tap) these icons to get more detail about section in question.

Some other items may also be clicked or tapped for more information. These items (ideals and theme/topic tags) are marked with the mouse cursor icon (cursor).

Our Learning Identity  

When we are at our best, we are working together to prepare each and every person for the future, knowing that everyone’s success depends on the well-rounded growth of individual learners.

The identity statement is our effort to summarize the way we think about ourselves when we are at our best, when it comes to local learning. We have attempted to blend the many voices that make up our Whole Learning Community into a simple, comprehensible statement. But the beauty of our shared learning identity truly is in the nuance. We hope the information that follows gives you a glimpse into the full richness of our community's dialog.

Our Ideals  

Based on the themes listed at the end of this report, we have created a clear set of ideals we can aspire to as we strive to make local learning the best it can be. These ideals are all present in our Whole Learning Community now to some degree, presenting opportunities to build on what's working. Just as importantly, they will guide us as we make plans to transform our learning systems.

cursor Click (or tap) an ideal to get more details.

We treat each person as an individual.
We include everyone.
We grow the entire person.
We prepare people for the future.
We make learning relevant and useful.
We do the basics really well.
  • “Give me what I need, when and how I need it, to learn at my best.”
  • “Give me the individual attention and help I need to learn successfully.”
  • “Give me the individual freedom I need to learn at my own pace.”
  • “Give me the choices and opportunities that suit me best.”
  • Provide opportunities and support for disadvantaged or struggling learners.
  • Recognize diversity in talent, potential and needs.
  • Provide appropriate education for a wide variety of learners.
  • Ensure that all learners receive a high quality learning experience.
  • academic, physical, spiritual, social, emotional growth
  • independence, self-reliance, personal responsibility
  • productivity, work ethic, basic life skills
  • compassion, character, ethics, respect, personal growth
  • citizenship, involvement, community engagement
  • self-awareness, self-esteem, self-confidence
  • a well-rounded, whole child approach
  • learning non-academic skills
  • learning 21st century skills
  • learning global awareness
  • learning to learn for life
  • learning goal achievement and self-direction
  • developing a taste for success
  • focus on specific trajectories (e.g., college, careers)
  • Learners know (and see) the value of what they are learning.
  • Learners understand and remember enough to build on what they’ve learned.
  • Learners gain specific skills that can be put to use beyond school.
  • Learners can apply learning to specific career, life and higher-ed choices.
  • Learners gain life skills and do extra-curriculars that support well-being.
  • reading and writing
  • mathematics and science
  • learning to learn
  • basic life skills
  • building on foundations

Themes and Topics that Informed Our Identity  

Each of the following themes and topics represents a perspective or idea shared in common by a significant portion of the voices who contributed to the conversation about our identity (who we aspire to be as a Whole Learning Community).

cursor Click (or tap) a tag to get more detail about what it means.

Themes (Shared Perspectives)

academic foundations/learning to learn collaboration/involvement/support community/society success contribution/citizenship improvement/quality/excellence inclusion/accessibility/opportunity individualization/diversity leadership/advocacy/responsibility learning successfully/achieving motivation/engagement/love of learning options/choice/alternatives other ownership/responsibility/empowerment preparation for future success/well-being relevance/utility/context social/emotional/relationships specific subject/idea/reform student/child well-being vision/proactivity/adaptability whole/well-rounded growth

Education is about getting ready to do well in life. Our whole local learning system influences the future of our learners, and as such, we have a mandate to prepare them for success.

Every person is different, and the breadth of differences is such that we must treat each learner as an individual – giving them a learning environment that works for them, help when they need it and freedom to excel at their own pace.

We all benefit from learning in Wenatchee, and we are all learners. Our learning systems should include everyone – the full breadth of learners – providing access and opportunity for all.

As people, we are multidimensional, and we grow in many areas of life – social, emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, academic, creative and cultural, to name a few. Our whole learning community should promote the development of the whole person.

Those in positions of leadership in our whole learning community – administrators, teachers, staff, parents and community members – have a responsibility to advocate above all for the success and well-being of learners. This can mean putting student success ahead of other interests.

For students to thrive, they must own their learning experiences, taking responsibility for their success, seizing their opportunities and making their learning and what they do with it a personal priority. We must seek to empower learners – to give them what they need – so they can own their success and their lives in this way.

All learning must ultimately relate to the rest of life outside of school – most notably to a career – for it to be useful. Our local learning system should strive to engage learners in relevant, useful activities with enough context to make the value clear to the learner, the educator and others.

As a whole learning community, nobody works in isolation. Parents, students, staff, teachers, administrators and community members must work together to support each other's efforts and communicate, all for the good of learners.

In the end, the success of our learners translates to the success of our community – economically, socially, culturally and environmentally. Our community cannot be more successful than our learners. We must remember that an investment in learning is a direct investment in our community's success and well-being.

The success of our learning systems come down to how well individual students are learning – whether they understand what they are being taught, whether they retain it, and whether they achieve enough success to gain traction and make progress. We must be conscious of whether our students are learning successfully and promote meaningful achievements, for their sake.

Excellence and quality provide us an overarching pursuit. By setting high standards for every person in our whole learning community, we are better able to take steps to improve our efforts and appreciate progress for what it is.

Many owners of our whole learning community feel strongly about (or have ideas for) specific subjects of study, improvements or reforms. These perspectives cover a wide range and will be applied appropriately as we map a strategic path for our whole learning community.

Many of us in Wenatchee are talking about how learning is a process that builds on itself – beginning with academic foundations and critical thinking and learning skills and culminating in becoming a life-long learner. Our learning system should embrace this process and promote continuity for learners.

Our learners ultimately contribute to our community as citizens, family members and workers. The degree to which an individual is able and willing to contribute to the community should be top of mind as we prepare young people for adult life.

Learning is an inherently rewarding experience that yields great rewards throughout life. We have an opportunity to inspire our students to learn by creating a motivating, engaging space, encouraging learning success and instilling a love of learning for its own sake.

The more choices and options our learners have, the better we will be able to find a learning environment and learning experiences that enable each individual student to thrive. Our learning system should be characterized by ample opportunities and should embrace – not marginalize – alternatives.

We care passionately about children and other young learners. They motivate us to do the right thing and we do not want to lose sight of their value to us and our value to them.

Change is a reality for our whole learning community in Wenatchee – affecting people in learning systems and in the community more broadly. We must share a vision for the future, look ahead, take smart but bold steps and be willing to adapt dramatically.

Much of the educational experience – as with life – has to do with social interactions, emotional experiences and relationships (between peers, teachers, family and neighbors). The way we treat each other – with respect, compassion, kindness and dignity – has a tremendous and immediate impact on our ability to learn and our quality of life.

A small portion of input is difficult to describe in similar terms to other input. But although it can be tricky to pick a theme for input, all input is carefully read by our local learning leaders, and every word is appreciated and used to inform our planning.


Topics (Groups of Common Ideas)

administration/leadership applied/hands-on learning business/career/vocation character/morals/ethics classroom/instruction/curriculum community culture(s) disabilities/special ed educator professionalism/entrepreneurship family/parents gifted/advanced students graduation/grades/achievement high expectations higher ed mentoring/tutoring poverty spirituality/faith student challenges/struggles subjects/areas of study/development systems/programs/infrastructure teachers/staff valuable skills

input related to leaders in learning or the administration of education

input related to learning by hands-on activities, and the application of learnings

input related to jobs and careers, including the world of business and vocational education

input related to developing and demonstrating individual character, morality and ethics

input related to the delivery of education and the experience of receiving it

input related to the broader community's connection to local learning

input related to culture, including multi-cultural awareness

input related to learning with disabilities, and special education services

input related to the educator as a professional, including development, compensation, ownership of results, individual development and innovation

input related to the role of family in education and the impact of education on families (includes parent involvement)

input related to students who are progressing quickly or pushing the limits of the educational space

input related to recognitions or metrics for learning success, typically grades, scores or graduation

input related to expectations for all stakeholders and participants in the educational system

input related to college, university, trade schools and continuing education

input related to individual, one-on-one attention to students

input related to personal, family or societal financial lack in the context of education

input related to spiritual development and the role of religion or faith in growth and well-being

input related to learners facing a variety of challenges

input related to varied, specific areas of subject matter or learning activities

input related to the educational system, including programs, schedules, facilities and other structure

input related to individuals employed in service of learners and learner success

input related to what kinds of skills, learnings and competencies have particular value


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Your input is key to our planning process. Creating a Whole Learning Community depends on each person's unique insights, and we want to thank you for adding yours.

The next phase of conversation is Path (how we get where we are going). If you gave us your contact information, we will be in touch to share the next set of questions soon. If you didn't give us your contact information, it's not too late – simply send an email to moderator@wenatcheelearns.com.

In the mean time, would you be willing to share Wenatchee Learns with a family member, friend or coworker? We want to hear from everyone, and we've done everything we can to make it easy for you to share and for them to participate.