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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guthrie CSD’s Graduate Profile (Part 3)

By Nelson Coulter

The BUSINESS of school is LEARNING!  At Guthrie CSD we have chosen to be proactive and intentional about the kind of education we deliver to our students and the kind of powerful learning they experience. 

This is the third of a five part series of articles that will provide some clarity about the Guthrie Graduate Profile, which has emerged from community- and school-based conversations that have been ongoing in Guthrie for the last year.  Below are the five pillars (dimensions) of the Guthrie Graduate Profile:

 v Learners/Problem Solvers/Critical Thinkers
 v Effective Communicators
 v Persons of Strong Character
 v Productive and Valuable Team Members
 v Compassionate and Responsible Citizens

Part 3 of this series we will focus on the Graduate Profile dimension of:

Persons of Strong Character
We intend that our students are/can/have:
       Healthy habits and lifestyles
       Persevering toward achieving personal goals
       Honest and trustworthy
       Assertive and competitive

We have determined that in order for our students to achieve their/our highest aspirations for them, they must understand how to live healthily.  This means that they must understand that personal nutrition and fitness has several dimensions: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.  We intend to guide our students to an understanding that their personal health and happiness are their own responsibility (not that of others, or their government) and that each of us makes informed (or uninformed) decisions on a daily basis that contribute in some way to that health and well-being.

At Guthrie CSD we also plan to design learning tasks that teach our students how to persevere, how to be resilient, and how to be relentless in their own learning and growth.  This means that we must teach them how to take risks, yet not to fear failure.  Powerful learning often comes from trying very hard, yet failing, then trying again, until you get it right.  The world’s greatest musicians, athletes, and business people know this reality by heart (and hard experience).

Guthrie CSD is also committing our resources and professional efforts toward facilitating within our students a deep respect for honesty and trustworthiness.  We intend for our students to learn that with those two character traits comes a personal responsibility to “own” one’s decisions and behavior, to say what you mean and mean what you say, to make promises frugally and honor them unerringly.  In short, our intention is to create within our students an understanding that a person is only as good as their word, but those that are as good as their word are worth their weight in gold.

Finally, we intend for Guthrie CSD students to learn how to “play hard” at whatever task/endeavor they deem worthy of their time, effort, and energy.  We intend for them to learn how to win with modesty, to lose with dignity, and to understand that all people experience both winning and losing in life.   Competing honorably and fairly make for a substantive life experience (and ill-gotten gains are, in fact, cause for disdain rather than celebration).  As well, we plan to teach our students how to understand at a deep level what they believe in and value, and to be willing and able to articulate those values assertively (yet without offensiveness or disrespect).

Some would say that we are dreamers to believe that there is enough time in the school day or years in a child’s life to make these kinds of learnings a reality.  At Guthrie CSD, we have chosen to emphasize these kinds of learnings as it is our intention to graduate students fully armed and prepared to compete in the world marketplace of work and school and life in a way that will make them the gold standard in any setting in which they choose to live and serve.

At Guthrie CSD have chosen MORE for our students (not less), without apology.  Does this educational approach require heightened effort and investment on the part of the adults?  You bet.  However, we deem it worth every ounce of that extra effort and investment. 

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