About the Contributors
Other stories filed under Cover Stories
With the school board examining what the ideal "Profile of a Clayton Graduate" should be, the Globe profiles some of CHS's most outstanding graduates.
March 15, 2019
Start with the end in mind.
In the development of our Clayton curricula, we use an approach called Backward Design or Understanding by Design. The fundamental formula is the development of learning goals first (the WHY), then determining methods (the HOW) for reaching those goals. Backward Design causes educators to be extremely thoughtful about determining the learning outcomes first before thinking about instruction. It makes logical sense.
I believe our students should always be our WHY and the center of our decisions.
As we reached the sunset of our current strategic plan, I felt compelled to think differently about our approach to it. I researched how other successful learning communities handled the strategic planning process and was intrigued by the concept of the Profile of the Graduate.
Similar to Backward Design, it was starting with end in mind – our students.
In developing a Profile, we need to prioritize what competencies we want for every Clayton graduate. I see this not only influencing what our students are learning, but I also feel it would influence how we are teaching and the culture we promote. In developing our strategic plan, the Profile would hold us accountable to what we want to prioritize and how we will measure our impact beyond standardized assessments.
Once our Profile is developed, it will influence the content of our strategic plan and goals. I want our strategic plan to be the driver of our work and not a document completed out of compliance. I envision a plan that will influence our approach to learning and challenge the mental models of what our schools look like for our students.
In Clayton, I believe we have an opportunity to think differently about how learning might look for our students. My hope is a more personalized and experiential learning. For example, if we truly want our students to be critical thinkers, then we will need to think beyond being purveyors of content. We need to think about what the students can do with that content knowledge to critically analyze relevant problems.
We are a great school district. As a District that is focused on a growth mindset, we need to think about consistent improvement. We cannot be complacent in being a great school district – we need to think about how we can be even greater for our students.
The Profile will provide collective agreement for our goals and cause us to question systems and processes that might need to be transformed to better support student personal growth and learning.
Finally, I believe an integral component of the Profile is having student voice in the process.
Our students’ perspectives, experiences and core values will impact the development of our Profile and ultimately our strategic plan. They are our WHY and will provide the input that will help us be transformational in our thinking and approach to education.