The vision and mission of RWL are clear and the outcomes are evident. However, the process leaves a lot of room for interpretation and we are working to improve our system so that it best serves Lakota Local Schools. To better clarify outcomes, we developed The Portrait of a Lakota Graduate (pictured above). This visual serves as a roadmap for Lakota educators whose ultimate goal is to prepare every graduate to follow one of the 4Es at the end of their K-12 career: Enrollment in higher education, Enlistment in the military, Employment, or the pursuit of Entrepreneurship.
“The portrait really gives some definition to the 4Es we’re always focusing on and is a great complement to the district’s new strategic plan,” said Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller. “It zooms in on the most critical skills our kids need, regardless of what path they choose after graduation.”
In regards to planning for implementations, Katie Bauer, Strategic Partnership Coordinator, suggests that trial and error is key. “People ask me ‘what is it that we have to do?’” she says. “And my answer is: anything more than last year is something.” Even if it’s just a small step like bringing in a virtual speaker or asking for a community partner to come in and judge a student’s project, it gives a student a meaningful real world experience they can take with them.
Our next goals include creating incentives and generating additional support so that the program expands. Some of this support is through project based learning teams, some through capstone projects, but a lot will be from classroom teachers seeing RWL as a natural piece of the learning cycle for all students.
We have been working with our Chamber of Commerce liaison on the process so that they can answer some of the questions and concerns that are normally handled by our Strategic Partnerships Coordinator. Since our Chamber of Commerce liaison is connected more closely to the business world, our hope is that they will be focus on those partnerships so that our Coordinator has more time to focus on implementing projects within the district.
Our goal is to increase the amount of people in the Lakota district supporting, advocating, and recruiting for Real World Learning. Strengthening student learning outcomes further reinforces community trust and provides feedback on the RWL program.
Lakota’s Executive Director for Curriculum Instruction, Keith Koehne, summarizes LLS’ sentiment in preparing students for the 4Es: “I’m excited for us to spend some time thinking through all of the levels of really putting a strategy together, so that we can look every graduate in the eye and say ‘We’ve prepared you for what you’re entering into.’
Join us in the journey as we make more moments matter for our students.