It’s the first day of school for Fairfax County Public School students, who may follow new educational goals in the future under a new “portrait of a graduate” proposal from Superintendent Karen Garza.
Garza will make a presentation to the school board later this week, and the board could vote on the new standards later in September.
The “portrait of a graduate” will serve as a foundation “on which to build a long-range strategic plan for the school system that will lessen the focus on standardized, high-stakes testing,” Garza said in a FCPS video (attached to this article) announcing the plan.
According to Garza’s proposal, the ideal Fairfax graduate will engage in the lifelong pursuit of academic knowledge. Desired goals for students include: effective written and oral communication skills; open-minded collaboration with peers to examine a full range of viewpoints; and for graduates to be global citizens; and promote environmental stewardship.
Graduates should also be creative and critical thinkers who demonstrate “divergent and ingenious thought to enhance the design/build process,” and express thoughts and ideas through the arts. They will show persistence in accomplishing difficult tasks and overcome academic and personal barriers to meet goals, the proposal materials state.
Garza said in the FCPS video that students are the most important aspect of the organization and they need a variety of skills to compete in today’s society.
“How should we create success and opportunities for every child every student to be successful in life beyond high school, whether that is going into the workforce or going into college?.” Garza said of the proposal. “We know they are graduating into a world that is rapidly changing. Many of them will have 11 different jobs in many different industries. That has caused us to take stock and really ask ourselves — are we teaching the skills necessary for success in that rapidly changing world?”
The concept of “portrait of a graduate” was designed by a 70-member task force of parents, teachers, principals and local business leaders.