Core Curriculum Competencies

This page provides more information related to each of the five core competencies covered in Pike’s Portrait of a Graduate curriculum.  Additional insights can be found on our Portrait of a Graduate Home Page, our School District About Page, and our Frequently Asked Questions Page.

Think Critically

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”

—ALBERT EINSTEIN

 

What does it mean to think critically in the context of schooling? It is simply the process in which we develop an understanding of the world in which we live. Education researchers, Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins state, “To understand is to make sense of what one knows, to be able to know why it’s so, and to have the ability to use it in various situations and context.” The process of developing an understanding requires students to think critically; that is, they…

  • Collect, assess, and analyze relevant information;
  • Reason effectively;
  • Use systems thinking (problem solving tools and methodology);
  • Make sound judgment and decisions;
  • Identify, define, and solve authentic problems;
  • Reflect on learning experiences, processes and solutions

We are partnering with Spalding County, Butts County, The University of Georgia, Gordon State College and Southern Crescent Technical College to open Griffin-Regional College and Career Academy. In the process of developing the college and career academy, we surveyed and spoke with hundreds of regional employers and the message was clear: employers are more concerned with what new employees can do, not what they know. They said give us young people who can think and learn; we’ll train them. The ubiquitous nature of technology and the rapid pace of innovation creates a condition whereby those who can think and learn independently will thrive. Our job is to teach students how to do it. A Google executive was quoted as saying if you have to be managed you can’t work here.

Solve Creatively

“Creativity involves breaking out of expected patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”

—EDWARD DE BONO

 

So often we think of creativity as the fine arts-music, art, drama-and, certainly, these endeavors are creative as participants use their mediums to interpret, challenge and reimagine the world in which we live, however, creativity is much more than the creation of art; it is in part the essence of combining”…seemingly unrelated ideas into something new…” (Daniel Pink, 2006). To this end, students think and problem-solve creatively when they create new and worthwhile ideas; elaborate, refine, analyze, and evaluate their own ideas; demonstrate originality and inventiveness in work and understand real world limits to adopting new ideas.

Innovation has been the life-blood of the American experience, creating the world’s strongest economy and the highest standard of living. Major economic powers around the world are biding to enhance innovation and discovery. “China is now focusing on how to unleash more creative, innovative juices among its youth” (Thomas Freidman, 2007). 

To address the issue of creative problem-solving, we are engaged in professional learning focusing on student work that requires inquiry and value beyond school. The High School STEM program is experimenting with design challenges to develop solutions using science, technology, engineering and mathematics to solve real-world problems. Creative problem-solving is the most challenging issue we face; it’s just not in the DNA of American education today.

Collaborate Effectively

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

—HENRY FORD

 

The link between communication and collaboration is evident. How does one collaborate if they do not possess effective communication skills? Thomas Friedman, in his book The World Is Flat, reveals the essence of a “flat” world where traditional hierarchies are replaced by global partnerships and collaboration. These global partnerships redefine the workplace and the skills necessary to succeed. Regional employers said the ability to work with others was essential and sorely lacking in today’s workforce.

So, what do we mean by collaboration? Students skilled in collaboration can,

  • demonstrate the ability to work effectively and respectfully across diverse teams;
  • exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a goal;
  • assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member; and,
  • work productively in teams for sustained periods of time to develop high quality products.

Why are communication and collaboration so important? The McKinsey Global Institute published a study finding that increasing communication and collaboration through internal and external social technology platforms could potentially add over 1 trillion dollars of value by increasing the productivity of high-skill knowledge workers. Student who can effectively communicate and collaborate will be highly valuable in the workplace of the 21st century.

Communicate Clearly

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”

—MALALA YOUSAFZAI

 

We are communicating-for better or worse-exponentially more than ever before. Whether we communicate through text message, social media, Email or SnapChat, the ability to leverage a wide array of communication tools purposefully and effectively is increasingly more important in the workplace. The data collected from regional employers was telling: They ranked communication as one of the top 4 work skills and described it as deficient in the existing work force! 

We broadly define communication as,

  • the use of effective interpersonal skills during conversations and discussions to build positive relationships;
  • delivering clear, concise and accurate ideas through spoken and written words using appropriate technologies and formats; and,
  • listening to decipher meaning including knowledge, values, attitudes and intentions. 

The link between communication and collaboration is evident. How does one collaborate if they do not possess effective communication skills? Thomas Friedman, in his book The World Is Flat, reveals the essence of a “flat” world where traditional hierarchies are replaced by global partnerships and collaboration. These global partnerships redefine the workplace and the skills necessary to succeed. Regional employers said the ability to work with others was essential and sorely lacking in today’s workforce. 

So, what do we mean by collaboration? Students skilled in collaboration can,

  • demonstrate the ability to work effectively and respectfully across diverse teams;
  • exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a goal;
  • assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value the individual contributions made by each team member; and,
  • work productively in teams for sustained periods of time to develop high quality products.

Why are communication and collaboration so important? The McKinsey Global Institute published a study finding that increasing communication and collaboration through internal and external social technology platforms could potentially add over 1 trillion dollars of value by increasing the productivity of high-skill knowledge workers. Student who can effectively communicate and collaborate will be highly valuable in the workplace of the 21st century.

Act Responsibly

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

—MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

 

Successful students are responsible students. Personal responsibility requires intentional, deliberate, and planned actions of an individual (Baumeister & Vohs). These learned behaviors, also termed “executive functions,” demand self-regulation – the process that enables us to plan, initiate, and complete an activity while controlling temper, maintaining attention, and responding to feedback from others. Perhaps the most important aspect of self-regulation is self-reflection, which prompts students to evaluate their performance and learn from their experiences; this spurs change in the future based on past results. Reflecting on successful outcomes promotes self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment, which produces motivated and engaged students.

We believe responsible students possess the following “habits of the mind” or “soft skills”:

  • Response Inhibition
  • Working Memory 
  • Emotional Control
  • Sustained Attention
  • Task Initiation
  • Planning/Prioritization
  • Organization
  • Time Management
  • Goal-Directed Persistence
  • Flexibility
  • Self-Monitoring/Metacognition

By equipping students with these positive skills beginning in pre-school, they will be prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation. Employers indicate personal responsibility is preferred over knowledge of a trade or skill. A trade can be taught; however, responsibility or the lack thereof is typically established as children reach early adulthood.

Our teachers have been charged with explicitly teaching and modeling the aforementioned skills. They understand the importance of maintaining emotionally safe classrooms which promote rational thinking and meaningful learning, yet another important aspect of executive functions.

Find More Information

Ask Us a Question
Having trouble finding something? Get in touch with our team for a fast answer to your questions and inquiries!
Contact Us
Upcoming Events
  1. Called Board of Education Meeting

    October 27 @ 8:30 am - 9:30 am
  2. Called Board of Education Meeting

    November 9 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
  3. Regular Board of Education Meeting

    November 9 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
  4. No School – Professional Learning Day

    November 19
  5. No School – Thanksgiving Break

    November 22 - November 26
Contact Info
Pike County HQ and all seven of our public county schools can be reached by first connecting with our central administration office. Please find our contact information below.
  • 16 Jackson Street, Zebulon, GA, 30295
  • Call: 770-567-8489
  • info@pike.k12.ga.us