Friday, June 1, 2018

Moyer Students Paint Their Own Portrait of a Graduate


Moyer students in Kara Yates' fifth grade class share how they are applying their Graduate Profile.

Know thyself. That’s the adage some Moyer Elementary School students have taken to heart. Over the course of this year, the students in Kara Yate’s fifth grade class have spent time identifying, examining and assessing their strengths and opportunities for growth.

They have done so as part of a larger quest to create a profile of an elementary school graduate, one that is ready for middle school. Through their efforts, the students have identified a set of traits that would help them be successful in middle school and well into high school and beyond.

The Graduate Profile


The students worked on the Moyer Elementary School Graduate Profile, which includes three statements involving motivation, enthusiasm and skills. These include:

  • Motivation to manage time and a have a plan for completion of a task or goal; to analyze, reflect and show growth on goals; to persevere and overcome challenges and to take initiative.
  • Enthusiasm to work as a contributing member of a collaborative team, to recognize the achievements of self and others, to listen and to value input by others and express oneself through meaningful conversation and actions.
  • Skills necessary to assess and adapt to real-work situations using problem-solving strategies and to present reliable and accurate information.

The project fits well into the Fort Thomas Independent Schools’ efforts to develop a districtwide Portrait of a Graduate. In fact, Yates, who is new to the school, said she was thrilled to learn that the district had embarked on that project.


The project gave her a perfect opportunity to explore how the work she’d done on this topic in graduate school at the University of Kentucky would translate to the daily classroom experience.

Discovering who we are


"At the beginning of this school year, I introduced my students to our class graduate profile. They ranked themselves (0-4) at that point on each of the categories. Throughout the first months of school, we continued to work on not only academics, but discovering who we wanted to be as a person… In December, students ranked themselves, once again, on each of the graduate profile categories. Following that, the students set goals on the traits that they wanted to work on for the remainder of the school year."

The students recently presented their work to classmates, family and educators at a Graduate Profile Exhibition. They shared stories and evidence of how the graduate profile impacted them as individuals and how it has helped them develop for the road ahead.

Five students shared their experience at the May school board meeting. Yates reminded them and those present that the goal of the exercise was not to meet a standard of perfection but to acknowledge strengths and weaknesses with an eye toward growth.

Each student took on one of the sections: motivation, enthusiasm and skills, and discussed where they do well and what areas they are working to improve. Yates explained that the students did a number of self-reflection exercises but also worked together and talked to friends, family and classmates to help them identify their individual strengths and weaknesses.

One student said he does well with motivation and managing time but wants to work on focusing on one task at a time and on taking initiative to reflect and, if necessary, correct his work without prompting from adults. Another student said she is good at celebrating and valuing the achievements of others but would like to be more open minded outside of class in getting to know students who may not like the same things she likes. Another said he strives for accuracy and accountability in his work.

Taking ownership for the future


Yates explained the work the students presented was their own, and she had asked each to reflect upon and take ownership of the work they’ve done. "We have been working on this for the past four or five weeks… taking time to look at it and really think about it and about how far they’ve come and who they truly are."



Moyer Principal Dawn Laber was moved by the students’ presentations, "I’ve known these students since the third grade, and I’m tearing up over here listening to them and what they picked for what they need to work on and what they’ve grown in... We as adults have a hard time figuring out our strengths and weaknesses and learning from them, but [the students] are already learning from this, and I think they are ready for middle school and for high school."

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