Changing the face of success at Amsterdam High School

August 29, 2018

When educators from the Greater Amsterdam School District sat down earlier this year to consider what makes a successful Amsterdam High School graduate, they came up with four consistent characteristics.

  • Amsterdam High School grads are Active Communicators. They speak with respect and empathy and make an effort to collaborate with others. They’re strong writers and active listeners and coherently express their opinions and support. They accept diverse opinions and are able to advocate for themselves.
  • AHS grads are Creative and Critical Thinkers. They persevere through challenges. They make life-long learning a priority and they take an innovative approach to problem solving.
  • They’re Healthy Individuals. Amsterdam grads take care of their physical well being. They have a strong work ethic, exemplify maturity, responsibility and safety, and show an active involvement in extra-curricular activities. They manage their stress and conflicts. They are compassionate. They are resilient.
  • And lastly, Amsterdam graduates are Global Citizens. They practice business and professional etiquette. They respect history, authority, cultures, opinions and property. They understand their role in the community and are able to adapt and be flexible. AHS graduates commit to service learning and embrace their civic responsibility.

Staff members began work in the spring to develop their own version of a Portrait of a Graduate — a vision that AHS can call its own. This school year, that vision will be unveiled, providing strategic direction for the design of the overall educational experience for students.

The goal of this vision is to reinvigorate and re-engage students, teachers and community stakeholders. And this ties into the overall goal at Amsterdam High School of ensuring all students have an educational experience preparing them to be effective lifelong learners and contributors.

High school leaders have also been working with faculty to draft a prioritized set of competencies including 21st century skills, mindsets and literacies. The idea is for local stakeholders and the overall school community to begin with the end in mind. This way, they set forth a measure of success for each graduate from now and into the future.

Portrait of a Graduate will not only provide for the acquisition of rigorous academic content, but it will also be more intentional about fostering critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, and other 21st century skills young people need to thrive in the ever changing world. The AHS staff is committed to supporting students achieve the Portrait of a Graduate.

This is an article that appeared in a student newsletter that was mailed home to families during late August.