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Dolores RE-4A school district prepares to introduce graduate profile

The Dolores school district is introducing its profile of a graduate to help ensure students are prepared beyond academics. (Kylie Wagaman/Courtesy photo)
The district has been working on the profile for more than a year

Dolores School District RE-4A is gearing up to launch its graduate profile, which has been in the works for more than a year with the help of staff and faculty, community members, parents and students.

Superintendent Reece Blincoe told The Journal the profile was created to respond to the faculty and staff question, “What do we want our students to look like when they cross the stage at graduation?”

Although a few challenges led up to the profile’s completion, it is ready to be soft-launched this school year before an active launch in August for the 2024-2025 year.

Blincoe said work on the profile began after the district finished its strategic plan. Parents, students, teachers, administrators and Blincoe worked together on the profile, and an outside organization hired with the grant helped with the profile and sent surveys to parents.

The profile also reflects the questions, “What skills do we want students to have besides academic knowledge?” and “What should a student possess to help them succeed in life?”

According to Blincoe, the group then organized the statements into the six categories of character, innovation, personal responsibility, clear communication, resilience and balance.

“After we got these six areas, we put all these things that the community told us that they would really like to see our graduates have once they walk across the stage,” Blincoe said.

The “character” category is described by emotional intelligence, kindness, respect, growth mindset and tolerance, while “personal responsibility” is described by accountability, productivity, work ethic, self-direction and time management.

“Clear communication” values collaboration, open mindedness, active listening and empathy/sympathy, and “resilience” includes determination, grit, perseverance and risk taking. “Innovation“ includes critical thinking, creativity, resourcefulness, imagination and problem-solving.

Finally, “balance” includes being prepared for all pathways, financial literacy, academic excellence and civic mindedness.

Blincoe shared that valuable insight from three students on the committee contributed to the graduate profile.

He said these students asked that a lot of attention be put on the balance portion and the character category.

“They understand that life is full of a lot of things, and that they’re all important,” Blincoe said. “They also thought it was really important that we helped show that we need to be kind to everybody because we don’t want bullying to exist. Kindness and respect to all individuals.”

He said social/emotional well-being also was important to students.

After establishing the categories and the values, the team worked on an informative flyer to spread the information.

On March 1, Blincoe presented the graduate profile to the Dolores teachers for the first time.

“We will be asking our teachers to incorporate it into their lesson plans next year,” Blincoe said. “We’re not asking our teachers to change their lessons.”

A lot of the time used to create the profile centered on making sure the graphics and poster set the tone for the graduate profile and how it would be perceived by students.

That was one of the challenges Blincoe mentioned regarding the project.

“This year alone has been mainly working on the graphics because we wanted it to look right and be very professional,” Blincoe said.

Blincoe plans to present the profile to the community in a few weeks, starting with the Rotary Club, then launch it in August to start the 2024-2025 school year.

Although the profile focuses on skills for graduating seniors, it will be implemented in the middle and high school, and posters will be hung in all classrooms, including kindergarten.

“We'll be working with our community, our students and our teachers to move it forward,” Blincoe said. “We'll continue to bring it up during staff meetings, our workshops and things like that, and again, as we kick off the school year, we'll be having workshops on this as well. We'll just continue to keep it in front of everybody. This is our direction. This is our goal.”