21st Century Skills the Focus of First-Time Summit
Educators and government officials will gather to discuss ways to improve academic skills and civic awarness in the K-12 school system.

By La Monica Everett-Haynes, University Communications
Oct. 11, 2007

Some of the state’s most visible leaders in education and government will be at The University of Arizona this month for the first Arizona Summit on 21st Century Skills.

The conference will address key issues in education, such as professional development, teacher preparation, assessment and youth development.

“We need to make sure our education system produces graduates with the right kinds of skills and who are productive in the economy and in society,” says College of Education Dean Ronald Marx.

The Oct. 25 summit is being held in conjunction with the college's Partnership for 21st Century Skills and Gov. Janet Napolitano’s P-20 Council, an organization that works to improve pre-school through post-secondary education and also advocates life-long learning.

The summit will culminate with recommendations that can then be forwarded to the council, said conference director Maureen Cain, who is also the Partnership for 21st Century Skills director of state partnerships.

The Partnership promotes subjects and skills that include global awareness, civic literacy, health literacy, critical thinking, self-direction and leadership, in addition to an understanding of core topics such as English, math, science, history and language arts.

Marx said part of the summit’s discussion will be about ways to develop creative curriculum and to improve student engagement.

Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup will be the honorary chairman of the event and will welcome the attendees.

Ken Kay, president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, will speak about what skills are important for Arizona’s students.

Other speakers include Arizona Department of Education Superintendent Tom Horne and keynote speaker Steven L. Paine, West Virginia state superintendent of schools.

The summit, which will include breakout sessions and a panel discussion, is expected to be well-attended.

“We’ve had a fantastic response,” Cain said.

Originally, about 150 people were expected to attend the summit, but “we already have more than 230 people registered from throughout the state and also from Nevada,” says Nina Daldrup, the College of Education’s director of development.

Attendees will include state representatives, county officials, school superintendents, higher education faculty, business leaders and others. Participants also are expected from rural areas and communities like Yuma and Chinle.

“It’s really exciting,” Daldrup added. “The summit has struck a chord.”

Co-conveners are the College of Education, Napolitano’s P-20 Council and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

The sponsors are the Arizona Community Foundation, Helios Education Foundation, Intel Education, Qwest, the Rodel Foundation of Arizona, the Arizona K-12 Center, the Arizona Education Association and Arizona Technology in Education Alliance.

Extra info


Arizona Summit on 21st Century Skills


Student Union Memorial Center


Oct. 25, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

To learn more about the conference, visit http://www.ed.arizona.edu/summit/welcome.htm.


Resources for the media

Maureen Cain

Director of State Partnerships