Superintendent's Notebook: Response to trends today impacts tomorrow

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 0

Maine is experiencing several of trends. For example, the state’s population is aging, and we’re facing environmental challenges as we consider how to best meet Maine’s energy needs.

How we respond to trends today will impact our future, so it’s very important that we react thoughtfully.

That is why I’m inviting you to an important community conversation on Monday, May 4, that will focus on such trends and others, and their impact on the future of Maine communities and schools.

The conversation will be led by Gary Marx, author of “21 Trends for the 21st Century: Out of the Trenches and Into the Future.”

At this event, Marx, an internationally known author, speaker and workshop leader, will help us explore our rapidly changing demographics, constantly emerging technologies and environmental challenges, and the ways they impact how we learn and how we lead.

As part of the event, Marx will ask participants to consider the implications of those trends for Maine. How will they impact the education of our children and the quality of life in this great state?

The trends we’ll be talking about affect everyone, so school and business leaders and other community members from not just Portland, but other cities and towns, are invited to join in this important conversation. It will take place from 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. at the Portland Public Library’s Rines Auditorium.

The event is titled “Focusing on the Future: 21 Trends for the 21st Century, a Community Conversation.” It’s sponsored by the Portland Public Schools and New England School Development Council.

I initially chose Marx’s book for the winter meeting of my Superintendent’s Book Club. A snowstorm caused the cancellation of that meeting, but I found the book so compelling that I invited the author to Maine to discuss it with us when we rescheduled to May 4.

This community conversation is one of the ways that the Portland Public Schools is leading the state in continuing to explore new ways to invest in our future – and that future is our children.

This book is very important because it shows how education has an impact on everything that happens in the world and that everything that happens in the world impacts education. And if we’re going to have a future as bright as our past, it’s going to depend in large part on how we respond to trends developing now.

Expect Marx to talk about a wide variety of trends. Aging will be among them, but he’ll also discuss the flow of generations and diversity. Do those trends sound familiar? They are all ones that impact Maine.

Marx also will talk about technology, privacy, jobs and careers. Other topics will include energy, the environment, sustainability, the international/global sphere, polarization, ethics, poverty, and work-life balance.

When it comes to education, Marx will talk about connection, focusing on personalization, the need to release ingenuity and creativity and the importance of depth, breadth, and purpose of education.

May 4 also marks the start of the Portland Public Schools’ third annual Principal for a Day program, run in partnership with the Portland Regional Chamber. During that week-long program, leaders of local businesses, colleges and nonprofits will spend a day as guest principals at Portland’s public schools. The CEOs get to see a school in action and share their management insights.

Expect to see many of those CEOs join this community conversation and share their expertise.

Besides being an author, Marx is president and founder of the Center for Public Outreach, which counsels internationally on future-oriented leadership, communication, education, community and democracy.

Copies of “21 Trends” will be at Longfellow Books in Portland for a 20 percent discount when mentioning the Superintendent’s Book Club. The book also will be on sale at the event, with Marx available for a book signing. The Portland Public Library also has put the book on order.

The event is free of charge but pre-registration is urged because space is limited. To register, go to

Please join us in this conversation to help shape Maine’s future.

Sidebar Elements

Portland Public Schools Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk writes this column monthly. He can be reached at Read his blog at