By Nelson Coulter
The BUSINESS of school is LEARNING! Schools are built and exist for that very purpose. Unfortunately, it often seems that many interests and agendas other than learning drive what goes on at school. Thus, it takes a very focused and deliberate team of professionals to keep their eyes, their energy, and their effort centered on LEARNING!
The community and educational professionals of Guthrie CSD have made a purposeful commitment with regard to what that learning should look like for students by creating the Guthrie Graduate Profile. This is the last of a five part series of articles intended to clarify the Profile. 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
The focus of this article is on the Profile dimension aimed at causing our students to be
Compassionate and Responsible Citizens which are:
• Socially responsible
• Knowledgeable participants in the democratic process
• Courteous and respectful toward others/differences
• Contributors of their energy/time/talent in service to others and their community
Certainly, having the skills and knowledge to provide for one’s self and loved ones is an extremely important concept. However, the Guthrie Graduate Profile addresses student learning beyond motives that are purely self-serving. The Compassionate and Responsible Citizens dimension moves us, generally, to the concept of service. Guthrie CSD stakeholders are convinced that some of the richest blessings in life are those realized when we invest our time, resources, and energy to the service of others. Consequently, we have concluded that a disposition for service to others is a concept important enough to teach to our children.
Encompassed in that concept is the idea that our children learn about and engage in the democratic process with integrity and fidelity. Certainly, being knowledgeable voters is part of that process, but being participants willing to contribute in even more meaningful ways is a powerful life enhancement. Those additional kinds of service might include volunteering at the church or community level, running for public office, serving on the local school board, helping organize disaster relief efforts, serving as a volunteer fire fighter, mowing the yard of an elderly neighbor, etc. In essence, it means taking the time and effort to SERVE others, with no expectation of reward or recognition.
Highly aligned to these service components is an underlying mindset of thankfulness for the many blessings that most of us experience on a daily basis. A disposition of respectfulness toward others is preeminent. The Guthrie school community has concluded that the lives of our children will be enriched if they learn to treat all others respectfully and courteously. Underlying that way of thinking is the innate understanding that there are many perspectives, faiths, philosophies of life that may differ from our own. Our differing perspectives on life and living need not (and should not) prompt the discourteous or disrespectful treatment of others.
Our intention at Guthrie CSD is to graduate students fully prepared to prosper in the world of work and school and life. Moreover, we have made the conscious decision to teach our children ways of wholesome living with respect to their view and treatment of others. Through teaching our children the ways of compassion and responsibility, we believe that not only will their lives be enriched, but the world will be a better place. One could argue that there might not be a more important learning component in the education of our students.