"If your child came to school with a backpack that would be filled with the most essential knowledge and skills for success, what would that be? What would you want us to put in that backpack?" JCPS Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Carmen Coleman, said.
While developing the program, Coleman said her team sought input from students, teachers and parents to get those answers.
They determined the five success skills they want students to strive for: to learn to be an effective communicator, emerging innovator, prepared and resilient learner, globally and culturally competent citizen, and productive collaborator.
Whenever a student shows one of those skills, they'll upload proof to the online platform. It could come in the form of a worksheet, a presentation or a creative outlet.
These are abstract concepts. Coleman knows normal grading standards can't apply to this type of work, and that's partly the point.
"Every student in our district is going to have to stand in front of a panel of people and talk about, or defend in a way, his readiness to move ahead and talk about where he is as a learner and think about, 'Where am I in terms of the backpack skills?'" Coleman said.
Google EDU helped the district develop the program. Coleman said there's nothing else like it out there right now.
"We would love to have something that could help kids far beyond our own district," Coleman said.
Teachers from each school spent hours learning how to use the program over the summer.
Students will graduate with a portfolio of work showing their abilities and their progress.