A Lawrence school panel has agreed on the skills students should have when they graduate from high school and are now looking for ways to share those goals with the public.
The Exit Outcome Task Force approved the goals this morning during a two-hour meeting at the district's service center. The group, which also met in September, October and December, has 40 members. About 25 were present today.
The goals set out by the group describe a student who has acquired certain skills and is able to apply those skills and contribute to society.
At its last meeting, the group had a lengthy discussion about the role of fine arts in the district, and that discussion continued today.
"We weren't sure we could require mastery of fine arts, whereas we could require mastery in other areas to some degree," Mary Loveland, both a task force member and the school board president, said this morning.
The group eventually agreed that students should at least develop an appreciation of the fine arts.
THE GROUP'S proposal calls for each student to:
Demonstrate mastery of essential skills and knowledge including: reading, writing, listening, speaking, math, social studies, science and computer use.
Demonstrate the ability to apply acquired knowledge and skills through: reasoning, problem-solving, decision-making, retrieving and organizing information, understanding systems and relationships and applying technological skills.
Demonstrate a high level of personal skills and characteristics including: self-esteem, self-management, honesty and integrity, healthy emotional and physical habits, a strong work ethic, an ability to work cooperatively with others, flexibility, creativity and an appreciation of the fine arts.
Demonstrate characteristics of responsible leadership through: ethical behavior, community involvement and participation, understanding the parents' role in preparing children for school, appreciation for a multicultural society, understanding of a citizen's rights and responsibilities and accepting responsibility for protecting the environment.
Demonstrate the desire for and the need to continue learning through: completion of all requirements for graduation, adaptation of acquired knowledge, skills and behaviors in a changing environment and work place and participation in postsecondary learning opportunities.
AFTER THE group agreed on the desired goals, Lawrence School Supt. Dan Neuenswander asked the group to discuss "the kind of stategy you want to use to get this out to the community and give them a chance to respond."
Carol Abrahamson, a teacher at Hillcrest School, recommended a full-page newspaper advertisement announcing the goals and the dates of meetings at which they would be discussed. Tom Murray, a school board member, said each school's PTO or PTA could have a meeting to discuss the proposed exit outcomes. Other members recommended church groups as a vehicle for sparking discussion of the proposal.
Board member John Tacha said he thought the next step should be to get a group even larger than the present task force to endorse the proposals.
He said that if a group of 100-150 people representing various community groups come to feel "ownership" in the proposed outcomes, those same people can discuss the proposal with their individual groups.
Whatever steps are taken, Tacha said, members of the present task force should get involved instead of just sending school board members out into the community.
"Otherwise, we don't have what we've developed here, which is a partnership," Tacha said.
THE BOARD is expected to endorse the document created by the Exit Outcome Task Force and to look at the proposed methods of sharing those goals with the community.
Neuenswander said the final step will be to work with businesses, service groups and others in the community to "attack the problem of making this dream a reality."