Dr. Ron Chi, chief academic officer for Frankfort Independent Schools, updated the school board Monday about Profile of a Graduate, a program being implemented in the district to better equip students with the skills necessary to compete in the workforce post-graduation.
But much like Profile of a Graduate, Chi didn’t stand and lecture. He let the students and their work do the talking.
One of the students’ first initiatives was to construct a logo that they could better relate to and be proud of. The previous logo, which featured the Capitol dome, didn’t exude the Panther pride that is encouraged at school.
Sophomore Katelyn Judd was the artist behind the new logo — a fierce panther in a graduation cap with the six pillars of the program (critical thinking; personal responsibility; teamwork; citizenship; communication; and problem solving) etched on it and encircled with the words family; teachers; higher education; community; and business and industry.
Junior Hunter Wooldridge, who helped with the initiative, said the new logo better embodies and conveys what Profile of a Graduate is all about.
“We need a more structured, intentional way to teach kids how to function less like a kid,” Wooldridge added. “We need more self-motivated learning, and that is what we are trying to do here.”
Eighth-grader Vance Mueller, who is taking a high school engineering and robotics class and earlier in the evening was honored for being part of a robotics team that placed in state competition, agreed.
“More programs like this would help with the transition to high school,” he told the board.
One way the program hopes to do that is by holding students accountable through a scorecard that would help them better prepare for the next step in the process. On one side of the scorecard the Kentucky Department of Education graduation requirements are listed. The other half of the scorecard tracks student progress from prekindergarten through 12th grade and reads almost like a roadmap for counselors because all the information is contained in one place.
Throughout their academic careers students can place work they have done that demonstrate the six pillars of the program into an evidence bank, a portable drive that parents, educators, students and mentors will be able to access.
“By keeping projects saved in a folder, they are owning their work. We want them to demonstrate accountability,” said Randy Adams, assistant principal at Second Street School, adding that students need to be engaged early.
“We have to be a part of this conversation in kindergarten,” he said.
The next steps in the program involve more interaction with the community and recruiting a cadre of 12 teachers — eight at the high school and four at the elementary school — to continue implementation and data collection. The teachers are to be selected by May 17.
“(The teachers) are invested and this is just the beginning,” Chi said. “Everybody is a part of it. We are all involved in the system.”