Council Ponders “Vision of a Graduate” – Council Update (April 11, 2018)

This past week’s Council meeting was centered around one topic: the Vision of a Graduate Discussion. Moderator Aisling Kelly began the discussion by reminding Council that the Vision of a Graduate should sum up what the school wants to see in a student at the end of their tenure at Hanover High School (HHS). Teacher Representative Ms. Ceplikas began the discussion by saying that in the Vision of a Graduate it should be stressed that students should be inclusive of others. Dresden School Board (DSB) Representative Perrin Milliken followed this up by saying that there are three parts to this discussion; hearts, minds, and voices, and that Council should think of more concrete actions that may lead students to embrace these qualities. DSB Rep. Milliken followed this up by asking Council the question of how the school’s curriculum is really embracing “hearts, minds, voices.”

Continuing the discussion, Junior Representative Elizabeth Napier said that as a school HHS needs to emphasize open-mindedness and inclusiveness in the Vision of a Graduate. Co-Treasurer Colm Seigne then followed this up by saying that he wants the Vision of a Graduate to be active in the daily lives of students. He then discussed how the mission statement doesn’t affect his daily life at all “unless someone wants to sound intelligent.” Freshman Representative Sage McGinley-Smith then added that the school should focus on how the Vision of a Graduate can be connected through the entire K-12 system and that Council should reach out to the middle and elementary schools.

DSB Rep. Milliken then connected this discussion to the ever ongoing discussion in Council surrounding a possible schedule change by saying that the Vision of a Graduate would be a great way to determine what the HHS community would want to see in a new schedule. Co-Treasurer Seigne followed this up on a somewhat comical note as he had been running around the room for the past few minutes, and after sitting down proclaimed that there wasn’t even a mission statement in the chorus room, explaining that the mission statement is what he had been looking for. He then added that there should be a mission statement in every classroom and that a Vision of a Graduate should be prevalent in the lives of students, not forgotten as the mission statement was in the Chorus room.

Non-Council member, Spanish Teacher Eric “Profe” Picconi, then contributed saying that this is an issue that will spread into the community and it must be discussed whether parents are more concerned about the means to an end rather than the process. Profe then followed up by saying that parents need to be on board with the final Vision of a Graduate as it is a community, not just a school specific issue. Junior Representative Romaney Granizo-MacKenzie added that at HHS kids are so focused on grades and college that the other important parts of High School are ignored. She then added that the school’s current mission statement is not aligned with what our school actually is and that can’t be the case with the Vision of a Graduate. Assistant Moderator Jasper Meyer then said the Vision of a Graduate should also reflect on the good things that HHS already does, such as the fact that there is not the “8 AP classes” culture at HHS.

The discussion ended on a somewhat different note as the issue of changing schedules resurfaced. Sophomore Representative Tessa Stewart said that students should have more structured free time in general in school and that as of now in school there is not enough time where there is no social pressure to work. Moderator Aisling Kelly finished the discussion by saying that block schedules could allow more time for students and that HHS needs to look at alternatives even if it doesn’t end up changing schedules.

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