CW students paint their portraits of future success

Canal Winchester High School students participate in a session on rock bands during the school’s Paint Your Portrait Day on April 11. A new initiative at the school, Paint Your Portrait Day provides students an opportunity to choose activities that will help them prepare for their future success.

Canal Winchester High School empowered students to take an important step toward success by choosing activities that would support their future goals during the school’s first ever Paint Your Portrait Day on April 11.

“At Canal Winchester Schools, we want all of our students to have the opportunity to prepare for a bright future through education, employment, or enlistment through the Portrait of a Graduate elements,” said Canal Winchester High School Principal Amy Warren. “By choosing activities to paint their own portraits, students are given the power to have a say in their education and preparation and to own the process of designing the future they want.”

Paint Your Portrait Day offered students a selection of opportunities connected to the district’s Portrait of a Graduate, a framework of the skills and attributes that empower students for success in school and after graduation. The six competencies of the Portrait of a Graduate are: respectful citizens; problem solvers; self-aware individuals; responsible learners; collaborators; and communicators.

In the past, the school has hosted Community Service Days for students to choose activities to give back to their community. An evolution of that concept, Paint Your Portrait Day offered volunteer opportunities with Canal Winchester Human Services, as well as college visits, an informational session on military enlistment, student engagement sessions, AP Bootcamp, community cleanup, homework help, job shadowing, Canal Creations Workshop, a rock band session, visiting Preston Family Farm, career exploration, and wellness activities including a cardio kickboxing class, weight room access, meditation, and a puppy room for de-stressing.

“Empowering students to choose which competency they need to explore provides them an opportunity for self-reflection, a practice imperative to becoming self-aware,” said Warren. “Students were encouraged to choose an activity meaningful to them and their own growth on their pathway to defining what success looks like to them.”

To ensure equity, transportation was offered to some activities so all students could participate.

Students could also create their own individual activities with approval from their Portrait of a Graduate teacher.

In a follow-up survey, students were asked to connect their chosen experience to the six Portrait of a Graduate competencies and to share their takeaways from the day. Seventy five percent of students who responded said they are looking forward to Paint Your Portrait Day in the future.

“This experience helped me “Paint my Portrait” by helping me learn how to be an effective communicator and how to use soft skills in the workplace, something I will need to do later on after college,” said one student who took part in job shadowing.

Canal Winchester High School hopes to host more Paint Your Portrait Days during the 2022-23 school year.

“We look forward to partnering with even more community resources as we plan Paint Your Portrait days for the 2022-23 school year,” said Warren.

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