The curriculum standards represent what children should be able to do-- the knowledge and skills required for students to achieve a standard. Teachers base instruction, lessons, activities and assessments on the curriculum standards. Involving students in their progress toward learning creates a road map for what students are working on and learning. Teachers create learning goals, create context for learning, design the learning, develop the materials and set the criteria. Involving parents and students in monitoring progress toward meeting goals increases goal accomplishment.
Growth Mindset - Soft Skills - Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
Resilience - Personal Competencies - Grit
These terms describe a set of teachable, non-cognitive skills foundational to student success. Just as students receive instruction and practice new skills in math, reading, science, music, and other subjects, students can also receive instruction and practice new skills to increase their knowledge of soft skills and strengthen important behaviors related to:
Setting and Achieving Goals
Taking Personal Responsibility for Decisions and Actions
Displaying Hopefulness, Confidence, and Optimism
Using Effective Processes for Decision Making
Controlling Behaviors and Emotions
Communicating Effectively with Others
Building and Keeping Positive Connections
Desiring Consistent Growth and Self-Improvement
Students who learn, practice, and apply these types of soft skills possess the know-how necessary for becoming productive, successful citizens both inside and outside of school. Just as assessments are used to set and target learning goals for math or reading, assessments are also used to set and target learning goals for soft skills. Rusk ISD teachers and counselors utilize an assessment called the Devereux Students Strengths Assessment, or DESSA, to assess students’ strengths in the eight areas listed above. From this data, instructional targets are set and a guidance curriculum is developed to address the areas in need of strengthening.
How important are these "personal competencies"? Research proves that individuals with “grit” and “resilience” who possess a solid “growth mindset” are far more likely to succeed not only in school, but also in their future endeavors within the job market. In fact, some research shows that employers value these durable soft skills up to four times more than hard skills. Providing Rusk ISD students the opportunity to learn and excel in all areas pertaining to their current and future successes - academically, socially, emotionally - is more than just a TEA mandate. It is a privilege and our greatest desire as educators. We hope that you will reach out to your child’s campus counselor or classroom teacher if you have any questions or are interested in learning more.