RACINE — Racine Unified’s “North Star” goal to make sure all district graduates are ready for college or a career is being updated to include student subgoals that go beyond academics “to address the whole child.”

The North Star currently includes only academic subgoals along the way to the ultimate goal of ensuring all students graduate with the skills they need to succeed in college or on the job. There is one academic subgoal per grade for most of Unified’s K-12 grades. The subgoals most often call for students to be proficient in math, reading or writing as measured by state tests.

The updated North Star, presented to the School Board in draft form Monday, still includes similar academic subgoals but adds social/emotional and career/life skills goals. For instance, according to the draft, a seventh-grader should not only be algebra-ready, but should also demonstrate empathy, a social/emotional goal, and should contribute to his or her community, a career/life skills goal.

Other social/emotional goals include 4-year-old kindergartners regulating their own emotions and fourth-graders resolving conflicts appropriately. Other career/life skills goals include sixth-graders attending school 97 percent of the time and 11th-graders demonstrating workplace soft skills, according to the North Star draft.

The draft has at least one academic, social/emotional or career/life skills goal per grade level for every Unified grade from 4-year-old kindergarten to 12th. Most grades have one or two goals. Only one, seventh-grade, has three.

The North Star draft will get tweaked more in the next month, in part through a staff survey. A final version should be ready in the fall, with implementation plans made and staff trained in the 2014-15 school year, Stacy Tapp, Unified’s chief of communication and community engagement, told the board Monday during an informational meeting at the district’s central office, 3109 Mount Pleasant St.

This is the North Star’s first major update since it was created in 2007.

The North Star was created by the district’s Guiding Coalition, a leadership group with representatives from all of Unified’s employee units. It was formally rolled out to all staff in 2009.

The Guiding Coalition is leading the charge to update the North Star “to address the whole child,” Tapp said.

The Guiding Coalition has spent many days meeting on the North Star revamp and has so far used input from in-person staff interviews and a prior staff survey that got about 900 responses, Tapp said.

The North Star takes its name from the actual star, which was used by Harriet Tubman to lead slaves to freedom in the mid-1800s. The North Star was chosen because it is “a constant symbol to guide progress,” according to the district.


What Is The North Star?

The “North Star” is Racine Unified’s long-term goal to make sure all students graduate ready for college or a career. The North Star identifies specific grade-level benchmarks students should meet to ensure they graduate with the skills necessary to succeed in post-secondary education or on the job.

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