The Longhorn Way: Portrait of Graduate an effort in school’s improvement process

■ Editor’s note: This week begins a column to be written during the 2019-20 school year by Chase County Schools administration and selected staff members. With different personnel composing the column twice each month, the goal is to give patrons a differ
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As I enter year two here at Chase County Schools, I continue to witness multiple ways our staff significantly assists our students in their learning and growth both academically and in their personal lives. There is clearly a high priority among our staff to connect with each student and develop a healthy, resourceful relationship.
It has been great to see the buses pull up full of students and the halls of the school buzzing with conversations again as we start the 2019-2020 school year.
Our meaningful work together as a district this last year has brought progress in many areas—updating our math curriculum, improving technology in grades K-8, increasing instructional time for reading/language arts and visiting with stakeholders to help us in creating a strong “VISION” for our school system.
Last fall we made a commitment to reevaluate our school improvement process and overall vision. Our goal was to listen to stakeholders and gather everyone’s viewpoint on identifying the skills they want each graduate to master so they are prepared for their future, whether that is in life, career, or college.
The stakeholder groups that developed their own “Portrait of a Graduate” included students, parents, business leaders, teachers and school board. We then brought representatives from each group together and they worked to bring all the individual group results into one overall Portrait of a Graduate.
On Aug. 9, teachers made their final revisions to the overall vision. Our school board voted unanimously to approve the Portrait of a Graduate vision during the August board meeting.
We want to thank everyone for their input and suggestions on how we can improve this initiative and particular skills that are important. It will serve as a guiding light for our continuous improvement process.
Below are the results of this process. This is not the end, but we believe this first completed process will be the beginning as we work with everyone to build an education system that meets the needs of all our students.
The skills and objectives of the Chase County Schools are to provide:
Content Mastery
Our students…
Develop and draw from a baseline understanding of knowledge in academic and practical disciplines.
Reflect on their learning experiences and apply these insights to subsequent situations.
Our students…
Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts.
Listen effectively to decipher meaning, including knowledge, values, attitudes and intentions.
Use communication for a range of purposes and audiences.
Utilize multiple media and technologies and know how to judge their effectiveness and assess their impact.
Communicate effectively in diverse environments.
Creativity & Innovation
Our students…
Demonstrate originality and imagination through brainstorming and other creative thinking techniques.
Elaborate, refine, analyze and evaluate their own ideas in order to improve and maximize creative efforts.
View failure as an opportunity to learn and understand that creativity and innovation is a long-term, cyclical process of small successes and frequent mistakes.
Act on creative ideas to make useful contributions and understand real-world limitations when adopting viable solutions.
Critical Thinking &
Problem Solving
Our students…
Understand the “bigger picture” when proposing solutions that are mindful to the impact they may have on other parts of a system.
Consistently improve the quality of their own thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing and reconstructing.
Apply disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded and informed by evidence.
Monitor their comprehension as they learn, recognize when they become confused or encounter obstacles, diagnose barriers to their success and select appropriate strategies to work through them.
Identify, evaluate and prioritize solutions to difficult or complex situations.
Implement and reflect critically on a solution.
Teamwork & Leadership
Our students…
Work with others to accomplish a common goal.
Respond open-mindedly to different ideas and values.
Prioritize the needs of the group over their individual needs when appropriate.
Recognize, invest in and leverage strengths to build collective ownership and action.
Create the environment or the conditions that empower others to grow and succeed.
Build relationships with others through trust and compassion.
Inspire others to reach their best through positive example and selflessness.
Demonstrate additional attributes associated with producing high-quality products including the ability to work positively and ethically, be reliable and punctual and present themselves professionally and with proper etiquette.
Our students…
Persist to accomplish difficult tasks and overcome academic and personal barriers to meet goals.
Prioritize, plan and manage work to achieve the intended result.
Identify and work toward lifelong learning and academic goals.
Delay gratification, refocus after distractions and maintain momentum until they reach their goals.
Respond positively and appropriately to praise, setbacks and criticism.


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Imperial, NE 69033