March 1, 2023
In keeping with the effort to highlight our Portrait of a Graduate competencies – as Superintendent Brown mentioned in his message from January 24, and GHS Principal Scott Hinton wrote about on February 1 – I have the honor of spotlighting the next trait, Critical Thinkers.
When I think about thinking critically (critical thinking), I think about ongoing problem solving. Critical thinking and problem solving is not “let me think about it and get back with you tomorrow.” It is having many conversations with key stakeholders over and over, it is brainstorming pros and cons, it is walking away and coming back to the issue with a fresh set of eyes, it is reaching out to others who have experience with the situation…all to solve an issue.
As many of you know, GHS and GMS share staff and students. However, we each operated on two very different bell schedules for years (GMS on a nine-period day, and GHS on an eight-period day). All of our administrators, staff, and teachers knew life would be easier for students and shared staff if we had one common bell schedule. Seems easy, doesn’t it?! On the contrary, not so easy after all, which is why it took so long to simply just do it.
In order for GMS to go to an eight-period day, we had really look at ELA (English/Language Arts) class because it was a double period. If we kept it as two periods, then we would impact ALL electives – our required classes took up six periods, so only two periods would be left for electives like music, global language, art, PE, tech, etc. After much critical thinking and discussion, we moved ELA class to one period a day so that grades 7-12 could operate on one common eight-period day schedule. The ELA staff spent a great deal of time to revamp every unit. Now that a couple of years have passed since we moved to a common bell schedule (7-12), we reflect on the decision, think critically by brainstorming new solutions, and talk with stakeholders to work toward continuous improvement.
Critical thinking is applied nearly every minute of the day in Granville Schools. Whether it is a scheduling shift like what I’ve outlined above, or a student solving a problem in math class, thinking critically is the path to solutions. I’m proud to say Granville Schools are preparing our future graduates to make sound judgments and decisions, maximize their creative efforts, and reflect on learnings through critical thinking.