District drafts strategic plan: Profile of a Graduate

Alternative Copy Story by Will Gleason

Shaping curriculum is one of the most important jobs of teachers and school administrators. Profile of a Graduate is a new venture being taken on by the district to come up with ways to ensure the success of students after high school.

The project came about in December of 2017. The goal of the project is to create a list of skills that students should have to be successful after high school, into college, and after college. Current students as well as students who have graduated from Stillwater have been putting their input into the project as a way for administrators to learn from students.

“This really was a way of us really trying to pay attention to what are those skills that are really going to be needed, what is it that kids really need today to go out into the world, to find a job, compete for a job, do what they want and be happy but still make a livable wage while doing that,” said Principal Rob Bach said.

A lot of times schools concentrate on learning and instruction, so we concentrate on your reading, writing, arithmetic kinds of things and those are the standard things you’ve focused on for an awful long time.”

— Rob Bach

Students and teachers alike are working with this project to create the best possible outcomes for Stillwater students. “A lot of times schools concentrate on learning and instruction, so we concentrate on your reading, writing, arithmetic kinds of things and those are the standard things you’ve focused on for an awful long time. Now what we’re starting to talk about is: what is it that kids really need to be able to do,” Bach said.

Students who have participated in the discussions so far have said: Students need to learn life skills, students need more time to take electives, critical thinking and verbal/written communication are some of the most important skills of a student. Other things students should have are a strong work ethic, the ability to work in a team and accountability.
Students also said that there should be more options for kids who may not want to go to college.

Over 2000 people have put their input into the project through Thoughtexchange and around 50 people have shared their thoughts on the project. In its entirety, the goal of the project is to have 21 percent of districts in the US using the program by 2021.

There are several schools and districts starting this project too, however every school is different, “Other schools are probably asking similar questions already so, other schools will have other models… what we come up with is something unique for Stillwater because we have to serve our community, not just what the world’s perception of students should be,” Bach said.

Changes will be put in place starting at the end of this school year as the district is due for a new strategic plan. There is much to be decided yet, however hopes are high.

“My hopes are that we have a clear picture, after working with our community, to figure out what [skills of a successful graduate] really looks like, and that we develop a really good plan… I hope that this project leads to something concrete in terms of something new for Stillwater High school, a change in how we do business that is better than our current model,” Bach said.