Profile of One91 Learner - Beginning with the End in Mind
- Building Community
- Pathways & Partnerships
Providing a clear explanation of the knowledge sets, skills and abilities that District 191 students will gain from PreK through graduation.
Each student set up for success
District 191 is proud to put every tool possible in place to push the programs, offerings, teachers and students to be the best they can be. By establishing a snapshot of what each learner should be able to know, do and accomplish, District 191 is setting the tone for what it means to be a learner in every school in the district and how to support that work.
The result is the Profile of a One 91 Learner that serves as the “what” for what the district wants to see in each and every student as they work through their journey in the schools. Unlike some districts who use a profile of a graduate, the District 191 team very intentionally focused beyond the graduation stage and into the overall educational experience from PreK through high school. The profile lays out clearly that students in the district will be Academically Ready, Civic-Minded, Culturally Proficient, Financially Ready, Future Ready, Life Ready and Workplace Ready, but that is not all.
“We want students to feel that school isn’t something that is happening to them but something that they find interesting, fun and challenging that they get to pursue,” said Director of Curriculum and Instruction Imina Oftedahl. “This is not just about seniors, but it is about learners at every stage. It’s less about unveiling and more about revealing and sharing about where children can find these experiences, lessons and skills being taught and offered to them.”
Building on the strong foundation of the district’s Pathways model, the profile will show students where they are going and give them tools to choose for themselves how to get there depending on their chosen path and passions. The profile shows the district’s commitment to innovation and whole child education, going beyond the academic needs and building a full-spectrum approach to what each student is capable of.
Blazing a path with strong support
The process to establish the Profile of a One91 Learner goes back to September 2022 and was enhanced by a willing community who stepped up to participate. The process would take some time, but the team was willing to do the work to establish and implement this important asset quickly and with community involvement at every step.
“Our symbol is blaze for a reason,” said Director of Strategic Partnerships Kathy Funston. “We are calculated risk takers and innovators and when something is going to be good for our kids, we move forward strategically and collaboratively!”
The district partnered with educational resource company YouScience to launch a community-focused process to hear directly from students, teachers, families, business leaders and community members about what characteristics a learner in the district should have. At the first Community Forum event, there were more than 80 participants – business owners, parents, teachers, students and others – all of whom were eager to dive into discussion and provide their perspective on outlining and defining what it means to be a successful learner in District 191.
“To look out and see the diversity of folks who are invested in making sure our schools are successful was very overwhelming and humbling,” said Oftedahl.
“The best conversations I heard involved hearing an educator saying one thing and a business person saying another, and through discussion having them realize that they were saying the same thing, but in a different way,” added Funston. “They would talk through it and find that common understanding, which is what we were striving for.”
Defining the “what” and planning for what’s next
The Profile of a Learner went through several drafts between the district team and stakeholder groups before ultimately launching in January 2023. Each round of changes involved going to community partners and defining and refining the traits and characteristics of the profile. The next steps will involve assessing curriculum all along the PreK-12 continuum and making adjustments to best serve students, meet their needs and provide opportunities that excite them. Work will include identifying where and how each of the characteristics are being taught and addressing any gaps.
“The first phase was to define the profile and the next phase is really digging in to find where each proficiency is found for every student so we can make good on our promise and process,” said Oftedahl. “It’s important to have the end in mind and know what it is that we want for our students and how to prepare them as they enter adulthood and into their engagement with their community.”
The Profile of a Learner also gives a very clear picture of what families can expect of their students in terms of skills, knowledge and abilities. As the next phase of work continues, the connections to the community will continue to be an asset.
“These attributes aren’t just wow factor skills that you might see like ‘a student can build a computer from scratch.’ These are the subtle, inherent attributes that students develop over time through our system that lead to academic and life success,” said Funston. “I can’t thank our partners enough because they always come to the table and help inform and guide the opportunities for our students because they really do care about what our students are learning.”
To learn more about the Profile of a One91 Learner visit www.isd191.org/learning/profile-of-a-learner