Since the release of the 1983 report “A Nation at Risk” our public school systems have been challenged with the task of improving public perception regarding how we prepare students for the future. This issue of a quality of education was compounded with the accountability requirements under the No Child Left Behind of 2001, which focused primarily on one assessment.
This narrow focus on one metric as the definitive measure of school quality misrepresents the complexity of educating students and diminishes the great work of educators across this nation who make a difference in the lives of students every day, in every classroom. And though aggregate performance is a key variable for measuring success, it simply fails to tell a bigger picture of what our students have and will be able to do in the future.
For this reason we felt it critical to recast our PROFILE OF A GRADUATE within a broader narrative of student success. This new framework provides an unparalleled level of clarity that aligns our mission, vision, and the work.
This new iteration of our graduate profile picks up where our Strategic Plan left off in 2015 and drives the work forward through five competencies, key to each student’s journey towards graduation:
In addition to college and career readiness, Community Ready was added to this iteration of the work thanks to feedback we received from community members, as well as industry and higher education professionals who expressed certain intangibles that Sunnyside students brought to their organizations. Attributing to our students traits like, “community-minded”, “a sense of social justice”, “respectfulness” we felt strongly that Community Ready also provided us with a framework to bridge the gap between knowledge and agency.
This framework allows our District to capture the summative experiences that mark each child’s learning journey so that personalizing the classroom is less about technology, and more about each student’s ecology.
Thank you for being a part of our journey.
Our students are knowledge creators. We look to them to not only master the content, but also to transfer knowledge across disciplines: From science to the humanities, from mathematics to the social sciences—Sunnyside students are deep thinkers and well-rounded learners with a strong sense of academic identity.
We trust our students as knowledge co-creators who share their expertise with peers and teachers as part of an intentional process of collaboration. Sunnyside students understand that learning is a social and shared responsibility. By listening respectfully, students value learning from one another as they begin to develop transferable skills like responding positively and constructively, which are important skills to employers as they are assembling their teams.
When Hurricane Harvey crippled the Texas coast in 2018, Sunnyside students in our JTED Construction program rolled up their sleeves, gave up their spring break, and traveled across the country to rebuild homes. When faced with the opportunity to speak at the state capitol demanding an increase in teacher pay, one Sunnyside student took to the microphone, took a deep breath and pumped up a crowd of tens of thousands.
Our students are engaged participants in their future, not merely bystanders. Equipped with deep knowledge of history and a sense of what is fair, our students are adept at using social media and student organizations to drive change. Sunnyside students are aware of community issues and possess real-world knowledge gained from internships and other experiences that put global issues into a local context.
All students are creative, and it’s our responsibility to nurture that creativity. Borrowing from the work of Tom and David Kelley (IDEO, Stanford d.School) we define creative confidence as the natural human ability to come up with great ideas and the courage to act on those ideas.
Sunnyside students take part in human-centric experiences that use empathy, systems thinking, and design thinking to unlock their creativity. Through building prototypes, using causal loops, challenging assumptions, and acknowledging that all ideas are worthy, our students learn how to take risks. More importantly, creative confidence relies on human collaboration, which is embodied in the performing arts. Sunnyside's tradition of excellence in the fine arts provides a first point of entry for students into a world of creativity that gives them opportunities to gain confidence and succeed.
Workplaces, schools and colleges, and other social environments are defined by internal cultures and norms that are not always visible from the outside. Some environments are built to nurture and empower, while other systems have internal cultures that hinder upward mobility. This is why we give students the tools to identify systems that perpetuate inequality so they’re prepared to take action.
In collaboration with League of Women Voters of Greater Tucson and the YWCA Southern Arizona we host workshops that help high school students learn about running for office while deconstructing issues such as racism, discrimination, and LGBTQ rights. Fostering critical consciousness through debate empowers our students to keep up with important issues and to demand a seat at the table.
Students who are self-aware have strong intrapersonal skills such as self-regulation, which develops in the early years and aids in problem solving and supports volitional behavior. Social awareness (or social intelligence) is part of an important skill set that, later in life, is what sets a transformational leader apart from an everyday boss.
This profile of a graduate takes into account our students’ social and emotional development and values traits such as assertiveness, conflict resolution, positive self-talk (to name a few)—as important indicators—of self- and social awareness, which is key to our students’ ability to thrive after high school.