By Nelson Coulter
As schools all over the nation begin to spin up for the return of students, Guthrie Common School District (GCSD) faculty and staff are also involved in preparing for the return of our Jaguars and Lady Jags. However, the days of adult learning that lead up to the first day of school are taking on a distinctly different feel this year. Most of the professional learning of the lead-up days before the start of school are being spent in some deeply reflective and consequential conversations about how GCSD can best prepare our students for futures of work and school and life in the 21st Century.
While the state of Texas is currently embroiled in the politically laced “testing wars” over the value and validity of the current accountability system, stakeholders in the Guthrie community have chosen to focus our efforts and energy on crafting an educational experience for our students that represents MORE. More what? you may ask. Working from the Guthrie Graduate Profile that has been in development for the last several months, the faculty and staff of GCSD have been engaged in ongoing dialogues about how we create learning experiences that will ensure that our students have the following skills and attributes by the time they receive a GCSD diploma. Below is the current version of that Guthrie Graduate Profile:
Ø Learners/Problem Solvers/Critical Thinkers
Ø Effective Communicators
Ø Persons of Strong Character
Ø Productive and Valuable Team Members
Ø Compassionate and Responsible Citizens
Thus, the professional development days for the educators of GCSD have been engaging, messy, stimulating, challenging, and energizing. Causing meaningful learning to happen in a way that engages student and adults in the process is not an easy thing. Nor is it common. Crafting learning tasks that address the five dimensions of the Graduate Profile above will take significant thought and effort on the part of the GCSD faculty and staff. We believe it is effort well and appropriately spent.
As the politicians duke it out in lofty conversations about what they think our children should be receiving from school, at Guthrie we have decided to take the bull by the horns and assert our own aspirations for our children. We have chosen to aim for something higher, richer, and more meaningful, which begs another question. Why would anyone choose LESS?