Veronesi: What skills and attributes should RSD13 students acquire?

Veronesi: What skills and attributes should RSD13 students acquire?

High school graduation is set for Friday, June 14. We look forward to another year of beautiful weather and sunny skies to celebrate our students and the staff, families and communities that have supported them throughout their schooling. We are proud of our graduating class and reflect on their many contributions to our school district and how education has changed since they began kindergarten in 2007. 

Over the course of the next few months, staff, students and community members will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on what skills and dispositions are essential for our students upon graduation. Through our Portrait of the Graduate process there will be in-person meetings as well as on-line opportunities for people to share their insight and ideas.

Please contribute to this process by answering this question on-line: What are the most important skills and attributes that RSD13 students should acquire to ensure success in life, learning and work beyond school?

Using a platform called Thoughtexchange, you will have the opportunity to share your thoughts as well as read those of other participants. You will then be able to assign “stars” (from a low of 1 to a high of 5) to show how important each idea is to you. Click this link to access the conversation or using any internet-connected device, go to, click on the "Join" button and enter the code 925-493-127. For iPads and iPhones, you can also download the Thoughtexchange app and enter the same code.  Please participate by Wednesday, May 15. 

We plan to identify RSD13’s portrait and be ready to share with the Board of Education by October. Once this information is shared with the board, we will begin the process of identifying performance assessments to measure progress and experiences students need to have from pre-K through grade 12. The basic steps, as guided by our work with the Center for School Change, include: defining the portrait (or vision) of the graduate, designing a performance assessment system that measures each learners’ progress on achieving the vision, implementing pedagogies and school structures that support the vision and lead to success on the performance assessment. 

We have exciting work ahead in Regional School District 13 as we continue to move towards a single educational approach rather than a two-program design. This process includes the identification of current practices that are good for all students that we would like to sustain in the future, others we would like to improve, and some that we would like to implement. Our efforts include: expanding our STEAM programming K-12; continue with new classes at the high school; developing a more integrated approach for our library media centers throughout the district; expanding the Higher Order Thinking (HOT) approach throughout the district; and refining and enhancing our curriculum through improved performance tasks and the addition of project-based learning. Our efforts and commitment remain organized within our three goal areas: student achievement, well-being and engagement. 

Regional School District 13 is a vibrant and dynamic learning environment. Check out our website and attend performances, sporting events, or reach out for a tour of one of our schools to see for yourself. I’d love to introduce you to the excitement!

Kathryn Veronesi is Superintendent of Schools in RSD13.