In Elizabeth, the school district and business community are working together to prepare students for life after graduation -- even from the earliest years -- by improving career-connected learning so students have a clearer picture of what’s possible for their futures.
Profile of a Graduate
Core to this effort is the Profile of a Graduate, which says the school district will, from kindergarten through graduation, provide opportunities for students to develop seven characteristics that will help them thrive at any stage of life – well beyond their time in school.
The seven competencies on which the district is focused are also ways to describe each graduate:
- Empathetic and collaborative.
- Adaptable and resilient.
- Effective communicator.
- Independent learner.
- Academically prepared.
From elementary school through high school, there are different ways those characteristics are taught and encouraged, in age-relevant ways.
Learning the Coyote Competencies
Singing Hills Elementary is adapting established programs including PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) and “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids” to the new HTI concepts, which will be called the Coyote Competencies at Singing Hills, based on the school’s mascot.
The words used in the Profile of a Graduate are too big for younger children, but that does not mean they can’t be introduced to the concept and start becoming familiar with the words and icons – especially if there is going to be follow-through at every rising grade level.
The school’s HTI team identified age-relevant books and built resource lists that can be used to help explain the concepts.
Each month, the school will host student assemblies to introduce a new Coyote Competency.
The final one for this school year will be “Entrepreneurial,” which will coincide with plans to launch an Entrepreneurial Fair, an event where adults will be invited to provide students with glimpses of the kinds of career paths that are out there.
Singing Hills 5th Graders Experience Young AmeriTowne
The entire fifth grade from Singing Hills Elementary spent the day at Young AmeriTowne in Belmar on Feb. 16. During that day, each student had a job for which they had applied and prepared to carry out in the weeks leading up to the event.
When they got to Young AmeriTowne, they went to work, interacted with other "professionals," went to the bank, bought and sold goods, paid fines, and even made sure to take their breaks on schedule.
The day was the culmination of five weeks of lessons. As their teachers introduced them to personal finance and career exploration, the students gained a true taste of what's ahead for them as they grow up.