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:


Stacie said...

This short rundown was great, Jim. I followed the link back to the Catlin Gabel School article and thought the school itself seemed pretty cool too. Some big changes going on at your old (temporary) stomping grounds out here in California, some of which really acknowledge these factors better than before. 8^) Hope you and family are all well.

Jim Eagen said...

Thanks, Stacie. Big changes here too, which is good. Thanks for the comment and for connecting!

John said...

Great! You may also be interested in checking out this blog concerning "grit" posted by Jonah Lehrer; he summarizes recent findings consistent with the first essential attribute described above.