Preparing Students For Life After High School

Portrait of a Graduate

Morgan Prater 19

More stories from Morgan Prater '19

Preparing Students For Life After High School

     Some major changes are going to be taking place in school districts over the next few years. The “Portrait of a Graduate” movement was started by Battelle for Kids and EdLeader21 to change how schools will implement the aspirations the community has for their students.

     These two organizations started the 21 by 2021 movement.

     “It’s an effort to have 21 percent of the nation’s school districts adopt a ‘Portrait of a Graduate,’” the national school boards association stated on their website.

     There is a link to the Wayne-Westland Portrait of a Graduate on the district

website available for the community to get involved in this process.

     “‘It’s time for us to take the conversation back to our communities,’ said Karen Garza, president of Battelle for Kids, at a Monday Master Class at NSBA’s 2018 annual conference,” the NSBA said on their website.

     English teacher Mr. Gidley agrees.

     “It is really important that everyone is involved, community, students, staff, upper administration, board office, that we are all on the same page because, your schools are your community and your community are your schools. It is always better to have agreement than controversy,” Gidley said.

     They specifically outline everything that a school system needs to do to implement this process to make it as easy as possible. Ken Kay, chief executive of EdLeader21 outlines a four step process to accomplish the “Portrait of a Graduate.”

     “There is a secondary redesign team,” English teacher Mr. Henzi said. “We have roughly forty people, its made up of central office people, building administrators, teachers, parents from the district as well. We have a pretty good group and we are looking at different schools and what is working and what might work best for our schools.”

     This design team was sent to California in February to gather information, discover some ideas and start planning.

     “We were able to network with other secondary teachers, administrators, students who have gone through the process of redesigning their school day,” English teacher Ms. Nimmerguth said.

     The next step is titled “activate.” This step is accomplished by a set design team. This team sits down and puts into words what the community said. They lay out what the students need to be successful after graduation.

    Step three is to “create.” This same design team visualizes what the plan is. They will set priorities of what is needed and create a plan that is easy to understand.

    “Outside of employment there is an emphasis on the ‘soft skills,’ meaning the people skills, how to be creative, how to take criticism, how to just be with other people, teamwork, and communication,” Gidley said.

    The fourth and final step is to “adopt your portrait of a graduate and implement it.” Once all the guidelines are set the district will slowly implement them based on a set timeline.

    Each year Battelle for Kids and EdLeader21 partner together to host an event for students and educators both. This event gives educators a way to discuss ideas for improvement and gives students the chance to experience leadership and taking charge. Students discuss different ways they can fix problems and then present these different ideas to the educators.

    “The Portrait of a Graduate is the first step in framing a new vision for your school system. Locally developed, but globally positioned, the Portrait serves as a North Star for system transformation,” Battelle for Kids said on their website.

    In the next steps the district will develop “The Portrait of a System” and “A Portrait of an Educator” to determine how things will change to accomplish this one goal.

    Superintendent Dr. Holt told the redesign team to, “dream big and then dream bigger.”

    Nimmerguth discussed one goal of these changes.

    “Developing relationships between the staff and students and allowing time during the day for those relationships to build.”