Portrait of a Graduate program and 21st century learning

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent James Sotlar is looking for assistance from the community, staff and students, along with Battelle and one of its educational initiatives, Battelle for Kids, to help transform the picture of students post high school.

“Battelle is a national not-for-profit organization committed to collaborating with school systems and communities to realize the power and promise of 21st century learning for every student,” said Sotlar in describing the joint effort, Portrait of a Graduate. “Many school systems across the country have engaged their larger community in developing a Portrait of a Graduate (POG), a collective vision that articulates the community’s aspirations for their students. Here at Canal Winchester Local Schools, we will be partnering with our community to do just that.”

According to Sotlar, the process will take four to six months to implement. From November through December, a Core Design Team will gather input from staff, students and community members. In January and February, the team will review the data and develop a Portrait of a Graduate and then create a visual representation.

Sotlar hopes to be able to present the completed portrait to the Canal Winchester Board of Education in March or April in 2019.

“All stakeholders will have an opportunity to give their input via meetings and on-line questionnaires,” said Sotlar. “The Core Design Team will review all data and develop the POG based on the data from the meetings. The Design Team will then present the POG to the board of education.”

The team, hand-picked by Sotlar, will consist of 20 to 25 members and include five to six staff members and the same number of community representatives, students and administrators.

“The POG is the first step of the process,” said Sotlar. “Once developed, it will provide for us a direction to review and possible redesign the overall educational experiences for our kids. Every school system is unique, but all systems are connected by a shared aspiration: that all students have an educational experience that prepares them to become lifelong learners and contributors.”

Sotlar emphasized that the experience must not only provide for the acquisition of rigorous academic content, but it must also be more intentional about fostering critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, and other 21st century skills and habits of mind that students need to navigate and thrive in a complex, rapidly-changing world.

“The Portrait of a Graduate by Battelle for Kids serves as a North Star for system transformation,” said Sotlar. “Providing strategic direction for the redesign of the overall educational experience for students, this collective vision reinvigorates and re-engages students, teachers, and community stakeholders.”

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