Roycemore’s Portrait of a Graduate identifies the skills and habits of mind that we believe are essential for young people to possess to achieve success in a rapidly changing and complex world. The Portrait of a Graduate provides strategic direction for Roycemore as we engage in a process to take a closer look at our curriculum and assessment — and build in a greater school-wide focus on the integration of critical skills and habits.
This week, I am taking a deeper dive into one of the three primary aspects of the Portrait: Scholarship.
Scholarship is a key component of Roycemore’s Portrait of a Graduate, as well as one of our School’s core values.
However, what does “Scholarship” mean at Roycemore? Scholarship encompasses intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, self-advocacy, as well as leadership and social influence. Some call these “soft skills;” however, at Roycemore we have come to call them “Power Skills.” They are essential skills that young people need to possess when they leave Roycemore and advance to higher education and careers.
Our goal for each Roycemore student is to demonstrate these Power Skills across all learning experiences, including academic, artistic, athletic, performance and civic. Below, we offer additional thoughts about scholarship:
- Foundational Skills: Prior to higher-order thinking, individuals must possess a strong academic foundation, including skills in literacy, numeracy, science, English, and technology as well as cultural and civic literacy. Roycemore’s emphasis on supporting acquisition of pragmatic skills, while embracing progressive approaches to acquiring these skills, meets the needs of all kinds of learners with diverse backgrounds.
- Communication: The ability to effectively communicate orally, in writing, through technology, and with the application of data is essential to achieving one’s highest potential. Providing many and varied opportunities for students to practice and demonstrate success in their communication endeavors are a key component of the Roycemore experience.
- Collaboration: A distinguishing characteristic of the most profound innovations of our world today is that they were created through teams who worked together to solve a problem or develop something new. Learning how to work well with others, to understand one’s own strengths and how to build a team that complements one’s strengths is a skill that will gain in importance in the century ahead.
- Creativity: Creativity is not limited to the art classroom. Students learn to try out their own ideas, apply alternative thinking to solve problems, and utilize unique approaches to demonstrate and communicate what they have learned.
- Critical Thinking: Arguably one of the most important skills, critical thinking is hardly new, however it has gained in importance. The ability to truly think and understand is vital in an environment that is cluttered with information overload. Roycemore students are taught to critically analyze what they read both in modern and historical texts. They study what is happening in the world around them to assess geopolitical movements, and compare and contrast policy to gain an understanding of how decisions are being made. Such approaches allow students to gain new perspectives in hope that they are equipped to play an important role in creating a better future for themselves and our world.
- Self-Advocacy: Roycemore students are encouraged to take charge of their education. They learn how to approach their teachers for help, and speak for themselves. Our students gain practice at sharing their thoughts and opinions, and gain confidence that will serve them well no matter what field of endeavor they pursue.
- Leadership & Social Influence: Roycemore students learn that leadership takes many forms. As an intentionally small school, there are many opportunities to lead at Roycemore, whether in leadership by title or leadership by deed. Our students gain an understanding of the power of their voice in offering opinions and direction, in their buying decisions, and in their actions. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which is used as a leadership framework schoolwide, offers common language for daily leadership experiences.
This may all seem like a novel approach to scholarship and education, and it is. The process as it relates to scholarship at Roycemore is much more than teaching to a test, and rote memorization. Rather, a true Scholar applies foundational knowledge to solve complex challenges and considers their relationship to the world in transformative new ways.
After Spring Break, we will consider our approach to Citizenship in the Portrait of a Graduate.