Fraser Public Schools Superintendent Carrie Wozniak speaks to staff, students, alumni, community members and board members about its Portrait of a Graduate endeavor in April 2019.

Fraser Public Schools Superintendent Carrie Wozniak speaks to staff, students, alumni, community members and board members about its Portrait of a Graduate endeavor in April 2019.

Photo provided by Fraser Public Schools


Fraser Public Schools program looks beyond academics

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published January 6, 2020

 Stella Authier, left, and other students compile responses for the question: “What is your hope or goal for students when they graduate from Fraser High School?”

Stella Authier, left, and other students compile responses for the question: “What is your hope or goal for students when they graduate from Fraser High School?”

Photo provided by Fraser Public Schools

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FRASER — A lot goes into the career of a high school student, from their first day of freshman year to walking across the stage on graduation day.

Last year, a discussion began in Fraser Public Schools on the process, with a simple question at its core: “What does it take to earn the handshake at graduation?” It has become part of the “Portrait of a Graduate” endeavor.

A group of “six C’s” were discovered to be part of that evaluation: critical thinking, by constructing meaningful knowledge and applying it in the real world; communication tailored to multiple audiences; creativity in terms of identifying social and economic opportunities; character by developing traits that are essential to living; collaboration by way of interpersonal and team-related activities, learning from others’ abilities and viewpoints; and citizenship, or developing an understanding of different values and worldviews and solving global problems.

FPS Communications Director Kristin Ledford said several meetings were conducted with stakeholders, with another central question posed to both students and faculty members: “What is your hope or goal for students when they graduate from Fraser High School?”

Myriad responses were reviewed, reaching an ultimate conclusion.

“The responses we got back all agreed that it is more than academics,” Ledford said.

Justin Babbitt, 17, is a senior at FHS and is also the student council president.

He said FPS Superintendent Carrie Wozniak first brought the idea to him last fall, as a way to discover and formulate students’ perspectives. That led to the students themselves sharing what they each believed were integral factors in the high school experience.

“I think the reason why our district had not done anything like this previously is simply because Fraser Public Schools was in the process of transitioning into a new focus area: technology,” Babbitt said. “I, along with all of my fellow students, have been blessed with great technology to benefit my learning in and out of the classroom. It would only make sense that our leaders in the district had to focus on this first, and then move into another strategic plan involving work such as Portrait of a Graduate.”

Stella Authier, 16, is a sophomore who has participated with the program since its inception. She said this evaluation is a result of making the school’s overall education experience better, including redesigned classrooms and modified test taking.

She said it’s important to share these experiences for public consumption because they are the ones living through the changes. It provides an outlook for the future.

“I’ve always had an encouraging and loving friend group, which I’m very thankful for,” Authier said. “They inspire me to be the best version of myself and push me to always try my best. In addition to that, the Fraser staff has always been so accommodating and supportive.

“I’m a people person and always being surrounded by kind, smiling faces that always want me to try my best has really improved my high school experience and, therefore, made it able for me to succeed in school.”

Babbitt said his close relationships with teachers have pointed him in a positive direction, inspiring and motivating him during times he wanted to give up.

It’s a testament to the school district, he added, due to the personal nature of learning progression.

“Education reaches beyond grades and test scores,” he said. “With the focus areas Portrait of a Graduate presents, it is clear that Fraser Public Schools understands this and wants to focus on the well-rounded student — not someone who can only pass an exam. I find that the soft skills I have been able to develop are just as valuable as the skills I have learned in the classroom.”

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