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The Howard-Suamico School District (HSSD) vision is an authentic, innovative, connected, and inspired experience for an ever-changing future. In order to achieve this vision for our students, HSSD Graduate Profile has been developed to include seven characteristics that are at the center of learning in our schools and community. Graduate Profile characteristics are critical skills for engaged citizenship, successful career paths, and meaningful community involvement. Graduate Profile characteristics include self-starter, critical thinker, collaborator, communicator, adaptable, responsible, and solutionist. Rigorous academic standards present daily opportunities for students to demonstrate profile characteristics in our classrooms. Foundational academic skills learned and measured alongside the graduate profile characteristics accentuate a whole- student experience in HSSD.

Throughout the year, the Board of Education monitors student performance in HSSD Graduate Profile seven characteristics. At the October 21 Board meeting, we talked with teachers from multiple grade levels and observed mathematics lessons in action with students developing critical thinker and solutionist skills. Critical thinkers investigate, analyze, and evaluate the quality of ideas and how they are connected. We saw examples of our students as mathematics learners becoming critical thinkers by using inquiry, seeking multiple perspectives, organizing information in meaningful ways, reasoning and making logical conclusions, and reflecting on their own ideas and those of others. Solutionists solve problems. We also saw students becoming solutionists by deepening understanding, identifying and articulating problems, thinking of creative solutions, and choosing and constructing solutions. At the November 18 Board meeting, we met with teachers and literacy coaches and observed literacy lessons in action with students growing as communicators. Students practice listening to others, asking clarifying questions, and gaining information and understanding. Students write and speak, growing in articulating ideas clearly and effectively, and choosing appropriate communication tools. Students practice engaging in conversations with flexible and open minds, demonstrate empathy, and understand how their words and actions affect others.

To provide rich learning opportunities, instructional practices are now emphasizing performance tasks so that students can grow and learn these seven characteristics. Seeing our students intentionally developing HSSD Graduate Profile characteristics is exciting and rewarding because we know they are being prepared to thrive in our complex and rapidly changing world. For more information about the Howard-Suamico School District, please visit our website at, or for additional information regarding this article, contact school board member Rachelle Paulsen at

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