During this academic year (2021-2022) a new program called “the Vision of the Graduate” has been implemented. This program teaches values/skills students will apply to the rest of their lives. This idea was developed during a Collaborative Conference (part of the 10 year re-accreditation process for New England Association of Schools & Colleges). Dr.Brelsford described the goal for this conference as “developing a ‘Vision of a Raider’ that includes the attainment of transferable skills, knowledge, understandings, and dispositions necessary for future success and provides feedback to learners and their families on each learner’s progress in achieving the vision. In January, 2020, stakeholders were invited to participate in a Strategic Planning session. During which members of the community, central office administrators, school administrations, teachers, parents and students met and were asked to evaluate the current state of SBRHS and how it can be improved as well as what skills students should be taught that they can carry into adult life. The final decision on which words would be recorded in the RAIDER acronym was made by teachers.
Resilience is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.” As all current Raiders know, we have had to push through the challenges of quarantine, virtual classes, and COVID. Resilience emphasizes the quality of one’s character as we progress throughout our academic careers.
Being academic emphasizes the importance of good study habits and having interests in personal learning projects and class subjects. As Raiders, students at SB are encouraged to keep up with their studies and use any resources needed to do so (such as academic support after school). This portion of the acronym is extremely important as passing your courses is a requirement to participate in extracurricular activities and an essential portion of college applications. An academic Raider is a successful Raider!
As a Raider, independence is important. Being independent means taking initiative to contact a teacher for extra help or communicate any problems you may be having. Not only does the independent aspect of RAIDER aid academic pursuits but it also transfers into the future.
A digital-citizen encapsulates many different factors. Digital-citizens strive to have exemplary online conduct and understanding of technology necessary to complete daily tasks. Being a good digital-citizen may seem complicated at first but it can become easy by putting thought into what you may post online.
Empathy is what makes our Raider community so special! To be empathetic is to consider the feelings of those around you and to acknowledge their hardships while providing support. Some helpful tips on improving empathy are to imagine yourself in the same situation, to listen without judgement, and to use newly gained perspective from these situations to become more mindful about the experiences of those around you.
Even before the “Vision of the Graduate” was implemented at SBRHS, respect was one of our core values. Being respectful not only encapsulates acting and communicating appropriately on campus but also displaying the same respect throughout the entire year. In being respectful you can prove that you too are worthy of that same respect.
When interviewed, Dr.Brelsford had the following responses:
How will the program be implemented into daily school activities?
“We have already asked staff to refer to it during class time. Our student of the month has been changed to our Visionaries of the Month and students will be recognized based on these skills. Different projects are in the works for promoting the VOG and it is spoken about/referenced wherever and whenever we can. In addition, we will next be looking at our curriculum, instruction and assessment practices and ensuring that they all align with the VOG. Everything we do at SBRHS–in the classroom, on playing fields, extracurricularly, in music, even our budget decisions should reflect the VOG.”
How will the program change our school culture?
“Prior to Vision of the Graduate, we had Core Values & Beliefs. These were skills that we wanted students to possess as high school students. The focus was the four years in high school. The VOG is a pre-K through 12 initiative that focuses on skills students will possess AFTER high school in their post-secondary lives–be that in college, career or just life in general. The VOG also focuses on student voice and choice in education and, when I met with students last year, I could see their eagerness to share their ideas with me and each other. We will continue that moving forward.”
Will there be any incentives for students to adopt these core values?
“First of all, it will be incorporated into assessment practices so grades will be an incentive. We also have the “Student Recognition” and “Staff Recognition” anonymous emails and Student of the Month. Other “incentives” will be coming..stay tuned.”
What values do you think we could improve on throughout the year?
“I think we have the most amazing students and staff around. I don’t think of it as an improvement…rather a recommendation. I tell myself and my own children every day that when we wake up we should try to be nice, kind, and look out for each other, our friends and even people we don’t know. When in doubt, choose kindness. As we are all a Raider Family in this building, I think I would just ask everyone here to try their best to do the same each day. That’s not to say that people aren’t already doing it. There are a lot of amazing things going on here every day and that is due to our staff and students. But, just to be mindful of being kind–It goes a long way.”
How does this program set us apart from other schools in the area?
“The Vision of the Graduate is an expectation for all schools who abide by NEASC accreditation. What sets us apart is that we are RAIDERS and we rise to the occasion. We are already doing great things at SBRHS–we will just keep that going moving forward.”
How do you think this will prepare students for adult life?
“The RAIDER vision of the graduate are skills that will assist students in college, careers and their everyday adult lives. We have amazing students who are destined to become amazing adults!”