By Carter Phillips
If you’re a senior you’re likely familiar with the profile of a graduate procedure but may be bewildered by it. That said, who better to explain it than a freshman? Actually, this freshman sat down with Assistant Principal Nate Schleicher and Assistant Superintendent Allen Burgad to find out more.
According to Nathan Schleicher; assistant principal at Sheyenne High School,”The purpose [for it,] is for students to reflect back on their education and recognize their own growth not just in math, reading, or science, but as a citizen in our community. We want our graduates and citizens in our community to be well-rounded people with skills to succeed in whatever path they choose.”
For those wondering where the idea came from, he responded, “The federal government passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015. This legislation allowed states to adjust the way that schools and school staff are evaluated. In North Dakota, the State Department of Public Instruction (DPI) decided that we want students who graduate to be “Choice Ready” meaning that students are prepared for any path they want to choose: college, career, or military service. The state of North Dakota worked with school and community leaders to determine that in order for students to be “Choice Ready” they have to demonstrate skills that best help in our rapidly changing world.” These skills (Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, Compassion, Reflection, Resilient and Responsibility) are what now constitute the Profile of a Graduate, which many seniors are reflecting upon in their Profile of a Graduate website. These website becomes part of the required “capstone presentation, where the student reflects on all their learning in school and is able to explain that learning and growth to an audience.”
West Fargo Public School’s Assistant Secondary Superintendent[PC1] , Allen Burgad says that such a capstone project is something being established in other schools. He shared that, “many schools not only in the area but in the region and the United States” are embracing more reflection on the education experience. According to him, “people are becoming more thoughtful [about] that [and in regard to], how do students learn? How do students socially interact well? How do students succeed in college beyond just having a good ACT?”
Schleicher, when asked about how the skills apply to life after high school, commented,” The Profile of a Graduate skills are life skills. They are important now and will always stay important. For the presentation: Think about a job interview. People can spend years learning and preparing for a specific job. In the end, an individual will or will not get that job based on his/her ability to communicate that he/she has the skills necessary to do the job well.”
In other words, he suggests that this procedure is not simply necessary because it may help students achieve in they’re future careers, but that it examines important traits in a personal life. This procedure shows that to get a job which fits your interest, you are also required to be a good co-worker, who is reliable, collaborative, and a professional communicator.
Nonetheless, it begs the question: If this procedure is new and people have had success prior to it, why is it necessary?
Dr Burgad responded by saying, “Its hard to measure these skills and I think [that] the description is somewhat defined by what communication looks like and what collaboration looks like so I’ll adventure to state that students that are successful in college probably have a strength- or these characteristics or attributes of profile of a graduate.” As he puts it, the skills have been present all along, now students are being asked to think about them more intentionally in the hopes more will leave high school with these tools for success.
He later added, “These skills here are something that I always have to continue to go back to once a month and do better in my job. You have to be very thoughtful because it’s changing. You can’t work in isolation anymore; relationships are so big and it takes effort and it takes reflection on those skills that are important to [be successful]. I think it’s beyond just being an individual in college and graduating.”
On the surface, this might seem like another project or another requirement, but as Schleicher and Burgad explained, it is rooted in the skills students will take with them to college or the workforce. For seniors, the profile of a graduate should be a system of pride, in which students can mark they’re best qualities.
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All feature news content is produced by students in the Newspaper program at West Fargo Sheyenne High School.