Santa Fe schools unveiling new program focused on grad attributes and life skills

New Mexico

A pilot program is preparing students in Santa Fe for life after high school. The Santa Fe Public School district is looking ahead with this program. It goes a step beyond typical coursework and hopes to get them job-ready by graduation.

What we have done as we’re working on developing project-based learning projects that students will engage in that will measure these attributes of the graduate, and we’re looking at how to measure them so students can develop a portfolio that later, said Dr. Veronica C. Garcia, superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools. When they apply to college, or now, when they go out into the world of work, that they can demonstrate to an employer that not only do they have the academic skills, but they have the skills that are important in the 21st century work place.

The district is developing the project-based learning, both in the classroom and out in the community to prepare students with skills like working in groups, problem-solving, being civic-minded and even getting to work on time. Students will then have a portfolio of their new skills and experiences to take with them when they apply to colleges or jobs.

We’re very excited to see how this rolls out, but we think it will help students have a portfolio of a broader picture of who they are, in addition to their traditional test scores, said Dr. Garcia. I think they’re going to like it because what we’ve heard from them is they are more than a test score and this affords us an opportunity to have the best of both worlds.

The district is partnering with non-profit Innovate+Educate to come up with a plan to make the program possible. They hope the idea will spread to other students all over.

I just think that this is a great opportunity for all students, not only in the Santa Fe Public Schools, but I believe we are blazing a trail for what authentic assessments can look like moving forward, said Garcia.

They will pilot the program in the upcoming school year, starting with a few teachers and four schools.

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