Above: EGHS Principal Michael Podraza explains the “Vision of a Graduate.”
What should it mean to be a graduate of East Greenwich High School? A team of EG teachers and administrators spent the past several months working on that definition, which they presented to the School Committee in January.
The goal of this effort, according to Alexis Meyer, the district’s director of teaching and learning, is to present a clear vision of a EG graduate and build the systems to make that happen.
“We feel like we captured the spirit and wishes of our community, but grounded it in the research and developed some aspirational opportunities for our students,” Meyer told the School Committee at its meeting Jan. 21.
The core group behind the effort was Meyer, EGHS Principal Michael Podraza, Meadowbrook Principal Neil Marcacchio and EGHS Senior Project Coordinator Karen Lockhart.
What does this mean for students?
It may result in performance assessments – not tests, says Meyer – for students at various points during their academic career.
Meyer said they might institute “learning and performance assessments” for students in grades 2, 5, and 8, with the senior project as a culminating effort.
“We started with the concept of deeper learning, which the high school has been engaged in – all of the schools have been involved with a little of it,” said Meyer. “We looked at the work of … different noted educators about what the research tells us about what kids need to be able to know and do in order to be successful in the world that they’re going to navigate. We can’t even envision what work may look like for when a 5 year old today will be ready to navigate the world. It’s about those skills that will allow them to navigate whatever may be before them.”
So what happens now?
The School Committee endorsed the work at that Jan. 21 meeting.
“Now, you design backwards,” said Meyer. “This is where we want to be. How do we make sure we get there. And how do we build the tools to measure whether our students are getting there?”
Meyer talked about one group of 8th graders who had to research and present TED talks. What if that was expanded for the whole 8th grade?
“They could be little senior projects,” she said. “They’re benchmarks, they’re performance assessments.”