Saturday, March 26, 2011

Essential attributes for student success - an independent school example

While following my Twitter feed today, I came across something profound from Richard Kassissieh, the IT Director at the Catlin Gabel School in Portland, OR. He wrote a piece on what he and some faculty members call "student attributes for success." What I found most interesting was their focus on traits that would predict future success as students move through the divisions. As a MS Head, this is always on my mind. Take a look:

1) Internal Motivation: Student shows initiative and risk-taking in learning. This also includes the resiliency to persevere when things get tough and overcome failure. A hardworking ethic and willingness to use available resources at school to do his/her best.
2) Habits of Mind: This includes “executive function” traits such as organization, time and material management, and the ability to prioritize.
3) Learning Style Awareness: A self-awareness of his/her own learning strengths and weaknesses – at a developmentally appropriate level. As you know we start working on this in the Lower School in earnest.
4) Family Support: Parents who maintain a partnership with the school to help a student to do their best. This may involve a commitment to providing extra supports s/he may need. It also means being careful to project a positive attitude towards the teachers and school; if a child detects a parent disrespects the school, their learning is undermined.
5) Social Aptitude: This means the ability of a student to meet the social demands of a collaborative learning environment.
6) Academic Aptitude: Students need to be academically solid. If they are not, a plan for support is in place.
7) Affective Attributes: The student has affinities beyond the classroom or academic realm that help to create balance in his/her life. This helps to establish a sense of identity and a feeling of competence/passion.

Great work by Richard and his colleagues. For further thoughts from Richard follow his blog here: