Graduation is right around the corner, and with it comes big feelings! There is the excitement that comes with celebrating the end of a chapter with friends and the sense of accomplishment and pride about reaching a major milestone. There is also an air of sadness around friends parting ways and anxiety about what comes next. Many high school seniors are considering what they want to do with the rest of their lives, and perhaps their parents are asking themselves, ‘How do I know that my kids are truly prepared?’

There is an initiative that some schools and school districts have adopted that can help parents and students feel more confident and prepared to enter their next stage of life.

Profile of a Graduate with YouScience® helps to:

  1. Identify the career and life readiness skills that students will need as they enter adulthood
  2. Assess schools’ readiness to teach and assess those skills
  3. Fill any identified gaps by implementing new curriculum or teaching learning strategies then establishing a continuous improvement plan.

According to our 2022 data report: 75% of recent high school graduates reported feeling moderately, slightly, or not at all prepared for life after high school. Creating and implementing a Profile of a Graduate (PoG) helps students to better understand the connection between the skills they are honing in their high school classes and the applications of those skills in postsecondary education/training or in their career fields.

When students see the relevance of the curriculum, they are more likely to remain engaged in their learning, and therefore, more likely to achieve academic proficiency. However, while academic achievement is certainly important, the PoG also outlines several other factors that contribute to career and life readiness.

6 Key Success Measures

Our PoG recommendations include 6 competency areas:
  1. Academically Ready
  2. Future Ready
  3. Civic-Minded
  4. Life Ready
  5. Financially Ready
  6. Workplace Ready
discussion illustration

While these areas are the ones we have determined to be the most ubiquitous in achieving career and life readiness, schools or school districts are welcome to customize their Profiles as they see fit. For example, Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, referenced in the success story below, chose to add a 7th competency called “Culturally Proficient” in order to reflect one of their community’s core values. Additionally, the definitions of each competency, as well as the skills related to each, are determined by input from various invested parties. An example of how the competencies may be defined is shown in the accompanying graphic.

Success Story: Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191, Minnesota

One district that has begun the PoG process is Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 in Minnesota. This past year, District 191 developed their Profile by following the steps we outlined for Phase One, and have published the result of their efforts on their website to be easily accessed by their schools and communities. They’ve committed to guiding students to be career and life ready upon graduation, giving them a clear picture of who they will be. Now, District 191 will continue their partnership with YouScience to begin developing a plan to show students exactly how their schools will help get them there. Let’s take a deep dive into the three phases for developing and implementing a Profile of a Graduate.

Implementing the Profile of a Graduate Process

At YouScience, we have guided many school districts nationwide through a three-phase Profile of a Graduate process. Each of the three phases is designed to tackle one goal per phase that contributes to the overall main objectives. The beauty of our implementation plan is that it is both collaborative through engaging people in every facet of the community, and customizable by taking into account the workforce trends specific to the local area.

Phase 1:

  • Our consultants guide a Steering Committee, composed of members within the school district and surrounding community. Together they create the foundation for the collaborative efforts that will identify and shape the desired knowledge, skills, and abilities of future graduates.
  • Then, we facilitate a series of focus groups to gather feedback from multiple constituent groups, including but not limited to students, elementary, middle, and high school teachers and school counselors, parents/guardians, community members, and business and industry partners.
  • Finally, we collect responses from a number of surveys that are shared publicly in order to ensure an equitable opportunity for everyone who wants to participate to be involved. By the end of Phase 1, the PoG has been created, edited, adjusted, and is ready to be shared!

Phase 2:

  • We guide the district through implementing the new Profile by conducting a curriculum audit to determine existing assets and potential gaps.
  • We then use the results of the audit to guide our recommendations for implementation and improvement.
  • We also help the district to identify artifacts and metrics that will help them to measure students’ attainment of the competencies outlined in the Profile.

Phase 3:

  • We help develop a continuous improvement plan that will strengthen the implementation of the Profile over time. Ultimately, the goal is for schools to address the key competencies beginning as soon as students enter kindergarten and build upon them until graduation day.
  • During Phase 3, we also facilitate reviews to evaluate implementation strengths and deficits, the results of which inform the continuous improvement plan.

Our recommended timeline for completing all 3 PoG phases is typically 2 years, but this can be adjusted based on the needs of the school or district. While YouScience’s time with the school or district usually ends after Phase 3, leaders are left with a solid understanding of how they can continuously strengthen their Profile of a Graduate to achieve the highest impact on students for many years to follow.

If you are interested in learning more about how your local school or district can partner with us to empower students’ success by developing a Profile of a Graduate (or applying any of our other products or services), please visit youscience.com/professional-services/. And, to schedule a demo with one of our team members submit a request at youscience.com/demo-request/