Portraits and Pathways: Computational Considering Pathways Fulfill a Portrait of a Graduate

At Indian Prairie Faculty District (IPSD), situated simply west of Chicago, one of many essential alignment factors—a “north star,” if you’ll—for the district’s 35 faculties is its Portrait of a Graduate profile. Broadly adopted by college districts throughout the nation, Portrait of a Graduate outlines the interdisciplinary abilities {that a} district believes its college students ought to embody and exemplify by highschool commencement. For IPSD, these interdisciplinary abilities are six core competencies that graduates must succeed, whatever the path a pupil takes after graduation. These competencies embrace creativity and innovation, communication, essential pondering and problem-solving, citizenship, flexibility and adaptableness, and resilience.

Indian Prairie Faculty District Portrait of a Graduate

Portraits Present Route

In IPSD and faculty districts nationwide, these Portraits of a Graduate inform the broader group what considered one of their graduates ought to “look” like. However within the technique of speaking the values and aspirations of the district and wider group, these Portraits additionally operate to align the work of faculties and educators. Within the spirit of backward design, by conceiving what well-rounded success appears like on the finish of the Ok-12 journey, these Portraits lay the muse for what the pathway itself must be.

Pathways Matter

Whereas a Portrait of a Graduate offers an endpoint of the place districts hope college students will likely be by commencement, a Ok-12 pathway is vital to supporting college students to turn out to be the graduates that college leaders envision them turning into. Working in collaboration with districts, together with IPSD, Digital Promise has discovered the simplest studying pathways are cross-curricular and supplied persistently throughout a district’s faculties and inside their lecture rooms reasonably than remoted at just a few magnet faculties or restricted to a couple course electives. This problem of a considerable and equitable training pathway is maybe no extra urgent than in laptop science (CS) as a self-discipline and profession, each of which stay areas the place people experience marginalization and exclusion from the earliest ages. One results of this exclusion is youngsters having inequitable entry to constant, high-quality computing alternatives.

At Digital Promise, we see district-level possession in laptop science and, extra broadly, computational pondering (CT) as a vital initiative for all college districts. Up to now, all 50 U.S. states have CS requirements in place, however the variety of districts inside every state truly enacting such requirements presents a much more blurry image, inconsistent throughout faculties and barely cumulatively constructing to rising pupil competence.

For the previous 5 years (2017-2022), Digital Promise has labored with eight completely different college districts throughout eight completely different states designing their very own Ok-12 Computational Considering Pathways. One end result has been Digital Promise’s district-facing CT Pathways Toolkit, in addition to a just lately launched free and on-demand on-line course Developing District-Wide Inclusive Computational Thinking Pathways, hosted on the Infosys Pathfinders On-line Institute.

Computational Considering Pathways. Picture Credit score: Digital Promise

IPSD was one of many first districts to companion with Digital Promise within the CT Pathways efforts. Its Portrait of a Graduate profile has been instrumental in guaranteeing CT isn’t handled as an erudite tech talent meant for a choose few however a basic talent for all of its college students and a veritable signpost for a profile of its graduates. Brian Giovanni, IPSD’s director of innovation and the district’s lead on the CT Pathways mission, factors out that IPSD’s Portrait of a Graduate and its CT Pathways work have at all times been complementary initiatives. “Our district Portrait helps our intentionality. Integrating parts of POG [Portrait of a Graduate], comparable to ‘creativity and innovation’ and ‘essential pondering,’ genuinely synch with the talents of IPSD’S CT Pathway, comparable to ‘creating computational artifacts’ and ‘decomposition.’ It wasn’t another factor for academics to do. It was one other means to enact the Portrait itself.”

Does your district have such a Portrait of a Graduate? Does it have a dedication to twenty first Century Abilities however continues to be engaged on precisely what such abilities are and the way they exist throughout the Ok-12 spectrum? What laptop science, coding and computational pondering work are you already doing, and the way does it construct and develop throughout grade bands?

We need to know. This previous fall, we launched a Nationwide Science Basis mission to proceed our work supporting districts to construct their CT Pathways and exploring how districts assist one another on this very important work. If you’re concerned about studying extra and probably partnering with us to develop a CT Pathway in your district, full this short survey by February twentieth to inform us about what you might be doing and the place your district needs to go.