At the March Board of Education meeting, the board approved our five-year Strategic Blueprint. The goal of this plan is to move our district from great to greater.
A main component of this plan is the Portrait of a Pleasantdale Graduate. The Future Planning Committee developed the portrait by considering what qualities and dispositions we would expect a child to possess after spending 1,584 days (kindergarten through eighth grade) in our schools. This idea of 1,584 days permeated our work and helped us to really consider what we want for our graduates. After much discussion and several activities, the committee came up with four distinct characteristics of a Pleasantdale graduate. These four characteristics are described in detail below:
• Knowledgeable and empathetic COMMUNICATOR: We want our kids to know that being an effective communicator doesn’t mean you are simply the most articulate or the loudest voice. We want kids who are able to listen as well as they are able to speak. We know that successful individuals are those who can communicate in a variety of ways and can work to understand various points of view. We know that to be a great communicator you are empathetic and are able to take in all perspectives before making a response.
• Respectful and creative PROBLEM SOLVER: Our students need to be able to find unique solutions to difficult problems and not give up. We know we are preparing our students for a 21st-century world, and we need them to look for new and interesting solutions. Our kids need to be gritty and stick with difficult problems until they reach that “ah-ha” moment. This is a generation that will inherit a wildly different world; we owe them the skills to deconstruct difficult problems and reconstruct new solutions.
• Passionate and confident INDIVIDUAL: Successful individuals know how to advocate for themselves and are able to use critical feedback as a tool to grow. These people work well in a group but are also able to accomplish tasks individually. Our graduates need to be adaptable and flexible thinkers.
• Collaborative and responsible GLOBAL CITIZEN: When we think of the qualities and dispositions we would expect our graduates to have after 1,584 days, we think of individuals who can work with those very different from themselves. We want them to become people who consider ethnic background, religious upbringing, or personal story as opportunities to grow. We expect that our graduates will challenge injustices and take personal responsibility for their actions.
Now that we have a clear understanding of our expectations for our graduates, we can get to work making this vision a reality. We will work hard to ensure that every single one of our students’ 1,584 days moves them closer to this Portrait of a Pleasantdale Graduate.
Dave Palzet is the superintendent of Pleasantdale School District 107.