By Dawn M. Chiossi
Graduation: It is an exciting time for high schoolers everywhere. It signifies embracing ambitions and following plans, stepping into the future, moving on to another station in life.
But what exactly, tangibly, does that entail? What is the definition of a successful graduate, one that that can conquer the world out there?
This is the question Roxbury schools are asking themselves, and one that they are endeavoring to answer with their brand new initiative entitled Portrait Of A Graduate.
Taking place at Lincoln Roosevelt Auditorium, this program will be held in a series of meetings: The first meeting was held on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Other dates to follow will be Tuesday, Dec. 4 and Thursday, Feb. 13.
As a future-forward school, Roxbury invites parents, staff, administrators, community leaders and students to join in and generate ideas on their ideal vision of graduates.
According to Roxbury School Superintendent Loretta Radulic Portrait of a Graduate is more of a goal than a program. The idea is to give the community a collective voice on what they would like to see in their graduating students. With this initiative it’s all about sharing, discussion and synthesis of ideas.
Traditionally, graduates always had a specific template to follow, but in today’s swiftly changing, 21st century world, that model just isn’t always feasible any more. Looking for something different for their graduates, this program focuses on questions such as what skills and character traits they should posses. Asking the tough questions that allow graduates to not only survive in the world, but flourish and thrive.
Capturing and embodying the spirit, abilities and competencies of graduates, the initiative digs into what skills they should have to succeed comprehensively. Examples of these include knowing how to collaborate, problem solve, speak publicly and how to be self-sufficient.
As Radulic explains, “The Portrait of a Graduate is an opportunity for the community to come together and share their perspectives about what skills, knowledge, and capabilities they hope to see in their graduating students. Through Portrait of a Graduate we define what is important to us.”
Radulic shares that she came up with the idea for Portrait of a Graduate when she attended a similar presentation at a national conference. She had been in conversation with the Board Of Education President about initiating the process to develop a strategic plan for the district. She eagerly embraced the idea of Portrait of a Graduate for Roxbury.
She likens the initiative to teachers designing lesson plans: Working with the end goal in mind. “If we know our destination all we need to do is design a way to get there.”
Radulic deemed their first meeting a success and has high hopes for all of the others.
“Giving voice to the people who care about our students is exciting,” she says. “Providing an opportunity to get all of these individuals in the same place at the same time discussing their vision for our graduates is electrifying. We have a vision for our district: Preparing the students of today for tomorrow. And I truly believe that is what we work together to support,” Radulic enthuses.
“The Portrait of a Graduate defines what it takes for our students to be prepared for the days beyond Roxbury High School,” she says. “It is heartwarming to listen to the teachers, parents, administrators, board of education members, and students sit around the table expressing what we can give to our students so that they can be prepared to successfully face the challenges and opportunities of their tomorrows.”