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College and Career Readiness
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Miss Magnett leads students through a goal setting PAWS lesson

Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson recently traveled around Kansas and asked “When you think of a successful 24 year old Kansan, what are the skills, attributes and characteristics that that person has?” In looking at the responses, Watson noticed that 70% of the responses given were about character. Watson said “What makes up success, are those non-academic skills.”
USD 428 believes social and emotional learning needs to be a high priority for Kansas students and is actively piloting social and emotional curriculum integration in partnership with the Kansas State Department of Education.
When asked about what would happen at Great Bend Middle School, Principal David Reiser said “We want our students to come out equipped not only with the content and academic knowledge to be successful later in life, but to also develop the character and perseverance skills that let knowledge matter. To that end, we have teachers piloting use of the College and Career Competency Wheel this year.”
The College and Career Competency Wheel focuses on cognitive or thinking skills, intrapersonal skills or skills in self management, and also interpersonal skills or skills in working with others. USD 428 was asked by the state to pilot this program, and is the first and only school in the state currently in the planning and implementation phase.
John Popp, assistant superintendent of curriculum and human resources is excited about the opportunities for growth this program brings. He said “We have been fortunate to partner with the Kansas Multi-Tier System of Supports and the Kansas State Department of Education to bring in trainers this summer. The trainers worked for several days with teacher leaders from the middle school and high school to begin the process of implementing this curriculum. This allows us to now have a K-12 approach to social emotional learning that is not only professionally developed, but continually supported with knowledgeable trainers.”
Middle school history teacher Stacey Magnett is one of the pilot teachers. She said “The first quarter will be dedicated to setting short term and long term goals. Students will create short term goals with action steps that will be monitored throughout the week and revisions will be made to help students reach their goals. This should help students build skill to complete projects and homework on time. Ultimately, we want them to be prepared for their future after school.”
Cortnea Wilson, a science teacher at the middle school, also has goal setting lessons during her PAWS morning class, lessons that carry over into her classroom activity. “Students work with goal setting directly in the PAWS lesson, but in science class, we build on and use the same skills. Today students were given a goal to build a retrieval prototype. To succeed, they will build their interpersonal communication and goal setting skills. We are trying to directly teach some of the skills students have to use so often to achieve success in real world like projects. In PAWS we talk about an action plan and how to react to roadblocks, and students used that type of thinking in class.”
The College and Career Competency Wheel was developed at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning in 2012. Growth in social and emotional competency indicators will helps schools maintain accreditation in the new system the Kansas State Board of Education unveiled this year.