‘Backpack of Success Skills' helps students stand out, show-off what they’ve learned

Students show-off what they've learned with JCPS Backpack of Success Skills

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - We’ve heard a lot about it over the last few months: The JCPS Backpack of Success Skills.

But what is it, really? We got to see it in action on Thursday as a few seniors at Moore High School presented their defenses to the eighth grade students.

Each transition year (fifth, eighth and 12th grades) will be presenting their defenses each May to prove they’re ready to move on to the next grade.

“It shows beyond I can do two plus two,” said senior Ariana Tulay. “Whatever is in your backpack is you, and you are not just contained to a box--you’re so much more than that.”

Tulay loves theater and writing poetry. Things that previously didn’t come into play when considering if a student is transition-ready.

“To be able to just show that you have accomplished things, and that you have grown in your high school years, and you still have things to do, but you’re moving in the right direction,” Tulay said.

An original poem she performed will be included in her senior defense.

It’s one of 500,000 artifacts students have uploaded to the digital backpack so far.

“What we want them to be able to do is to stand before this panel and talk about these artifacts and connect them to the success skills, and we want to be able to see that they are able to do the public speaking," Community Academy Counselor Tara Thurman said. "That they have these projects that can demonstrate that they are ready to go to college or the work force--so that they’re prepared for the next step after high school,”

Fifth and eighth graders will also be expected to do the same to prove they’re ready to move up.

Eighth grader Olivia Dillon already has some ideas for her presentation in May.

“I made a fertilizer substitute and I want to show that off,” said Dillon. “I’m usually shy and quiet, and testing is usually like ‘hold back, stay away’ so I like the fact that I’m doing good. I’m so proud of myself and I think that other people, once they see that, will be proud of me.”

About 90,000 students have already entered artifacts into their backpacks.

“The defense process at first seemed really overwhelming and I was quite scared,” said senior Anthony Spalding. ”Just walking myself through its like ‘what am I most proud of?’ and it’s just like figuring out those key things where it’s like—wow, that’s a lot and you don’t realize it until you lay it all out on a sheet of paper and it’s just like...wow!”

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