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Madison Local Schools defines what it means to be a Future-Ready Graduate

Posted on: October 22, 2020
Future-Ready Graduates

Future-Ready Graduates

We all want our children to grow up and be successful -- to get jobs or careers that allow them to live comfortably, become individuals who actively participate and better society, and, ultimately, to live a full and happy life. In order to give our students the best opportunity to reach this goal, we need to prepare them for what happens after graduation, when they leave the nest of our school and go on to begin their own personal journeys.


Each student’s future holds something unique: we don’t know where they’re going, and many of them aren’t sure, either. Combine this uncertainty of being a young person embarking into the world with the rapid changes our world is experiencing, and where these young people may end up career-wise becomes even more ambiguous. This is why Madison Local Schools is focusing on the title of future ready, so that our graduates can be prepared for wherever their lives may lead them. 


The future ready graduate concept focuses on student characteristics, not degrees or course-taking. It identifies those skills current businesses believe are necessary in their employees both today and tomorrow, and builds educational opportunities to help students develop these skills. It also helps graduates to be aware of their various talents and have the ability to work continuously to improve them. Skills and mindsets come together to prepare students of today for an unpredictable tomorrow, helping them learn to thrive in any environment.


But how do we get to the definition of a Madison Local Schools Future-Ready Graduate? The most important step was to enlist the help of our local Middletown business community. We conducted research with a variety of businesses in a variety of industries to outline the various skills they say their employees need to be successful, and what additional skills they foresee will be needed in the future. Each of these qualities was then broken down to include the key attributes, talents, and knowledge required for graduates to be economically successful in life. 


Over 40 companies representing a large portion of the area’s employment and entrepreneurship participated in the research. The following skills were identified by these business leaders as necessary for student success upon entering the workforce: 

You may notice that the Content Knowledge skills are a small portion of what was identified. Instead, abilities such as being able to think, create, learn, adapt, work with others, and persevere have risen in importance. Much of this is because we are now living in an age of acceleration where technological advancement is evolving at an ever more rapid pace. When information is at our fingertips, it is less important to have it memorized. This shifts the focus from the traditional educational approach of rote learning to skill development that teaches students how to think and interact. 


A second important step was to talk with our Madison students and graduates. Interestingly, the characteristics identified by business leaders were reinforced when we gathered this feedback. We heard that our students crave life skills beyond academics; they are anxious to incorporate more experiential learning opportunities into their curriculum. They view both academics and experiences as critical to their long-term success, and in all opportunities, they desire more challenging work that tests their thinking and reasoning skills. 


Based on all this, we can see that becoming a Future-Ready Graduate means students are supplied with the content knowledge, the habits of success, the creative know-how, and the way-finding abilities to successfully navigate their life. By focusing on these qualities of a Future-Ready Graduate, students are able to develop both capability and agency. 

The qualities of a Future-Ready Graduate are integral to our revised Mission, Values, and Aspiration Statements. Madison Local Schools is focused on providing our students with what they need to be successful, and in today’s rapidly changing and advancing world, each student’s future looks radically different. That is why we have outlined what we believe the 21st Century Future-Ready Graduate encompasses, and we are working to prepare our students for this future in every aspect of what we do here at Madison.