For most seniors the end of the school year is a hectic time. It means last minute class projects, prom, cap and gown pictures, graduation, and deciding on what the next step will be. For some students that will mean college or tech school, for others the military, or possibly straight into the workforce. This year, seniors at Logan County High School are adding extra focus on the next step.
In the summer of 2021 the Logan County School Board made the Senior Graduation Defense a part of the district’s graduation requirements. The graduation defense is based upon the competencies of the Profile of Success. In 2016 school district leaders met with members of the Logan County business community to discuss what students need when they leave high school in order to be a successful, productive employee. Out of these meetings it was agreed that students needed to be proficient in five areas:
- Global Citizens
- Empowered Learners
These five areas were deemed to be the tools and skills that employers are looking for when they think of the skills that they want their employees to have when they hire them. These skills are transferable across the board for all jobs.
Since this plan was developed, the school has experienced temporary barriers in implementing the defenses. After a development period, the high school was preparing students for the program when the COVID pandemic hit. It was not until the spring of 2022 that LCHS has been able to put the plan into action.
When the spring semester started seniors were given an outline of the program, the requirements of the program, a timeline to help guide and pace them and a guide to assist them on what is expected of them in regards to developing a portfolio and their presentations (called their graduation defense). Additionally, students were given time with a mentor teacher to guide them.
The portfolio includes a resume, cover letter, a reflection on their growth throughout high school, and three artifacts from their high school years that address the five competencies. These artifacts can be a class project or an experience that they have had in or out of school. The students are to use these artifacts to show how they have grown and become proficient in the five competencies. Once a portfolio is created the seniors present what they have learned to a panel of school and community leaders.
Seniors presented their graduation defenses in front of panels made up of the LCHS leadership team, community leaders, and other school district personnel this April. Mr. Caycee Spears, LCHS principal, stated, “This has been a tremendous learning experience for everyone involved. The panel members have all been impressed with the student presentations and the various activities in which they are involved.”
Attorney Ami Brooks, who served two days on the panel stated, “I can really see the value in these presentations. It makes students reflect, show their growth and think about their future plans. The students are really impressive and are doing some amazing things. I look forward to seeing next year’s presentations.”
LCHS students now have a portfolio in hand to present to prospective employers, and they have developed skills that will assist them in job and/or scholarship interviews and in their everyday lives.
As Mr. Spears stated, “Not only is LCHS interested in helping the students be successful in high school, we want them to be prepared for what they plan to do next.”
Article by David Brooks, LCHS Counselor