Budget work, teaching curriculum, and student goals \u2014 it\u2019s all proposed to change under the district\u2019s new strategic learning plan. After months of surveying residents, teachers and administrators, the Board of Education heard from consultant Jonathan Costa Monday night. Costa, who has led a committee in town for the last several months, told the board that the district needs to change its vision to better prepare students for a global economy and technology-driven world. He said that, under the new plan, the district can ensure that students have learned what they need when they transition to middle school and later to high school. \u201cThis is a backwards design,\u201d said Costa. \u201cYou start with what you want and you go and find the gap between where you are and where those things are.\u201d Superintendent Karen Baldwin agreed with Costa\u2019s assessment that the district\u2019s teaching methods needed to be overhauled. \u201cIn Ridgefield, after thoughtful consideration and research, we believe the priorities among those required skills include critical and creative thinking for problem solving, effective communication, and the ability to work cooperatively with others,\u201c she told The Press Tuesday. Costa said Monday night that his committee found the district operates under the traditional method endorsed by the New England Association of Schools and College (NEASC). The method isolates specific skills to be taught in different classes. Costa said this poses a problem, which his plan aims to solve by making a move toward a more inclusive approach. \u201cA child should have the opportunity to get better at [these skills] in every class,\u201d he said. Under his framework, which the board approved Monday, students will be practicing critical and creative thinking, problem solving, collaboration, independent learning, empathy, resilience, and self-reflection in all classes. \u201cIf you\u2019re not thinking about these things before you get to ninth grade, it\u2019s too late,\u201d said Costa.