Chris LaRocco – International Center for Leadership in Education consultant (
July 1, 2007
Model Schools Conference 2007 – Washington D.C.

Personal Skill Development – Session 102

To help schools clarify their missions, prioritize problems, and review school performance critically, the International Center has developed the Learning Criteria to Support Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships. The fourth criterion, Personal Skill Development, is an essential element in continuous school improvement. When students learn to communicate effectively, respect others, accept responsibility, resolve problems, and work on teams, their academic achievement improves. Business leaders validate the importance of these personal skills as critical for success in the workplace. This session will preview the forthcoming Personal Skill Development kit. Participants will learn ways to integrate personal skills into the overall school curriculum.

Presentation materials posted online

Personal skill development is one of the four areas in the International Center’s Learning Criteria to support Rigor, Relevance, Relationships
ICLE Learning Criteria
  • Core Academic Learning
  • Stretch Learning
  • Student Engagement
  • Personal Skill Development

The Learning Criteria helps a school to clarify its mission, prioritize areas of concern, and review school performance critically

Personal skill development (PSD) is considered an essential element of continuous school improvement
  • When students learn to communication effectively, respect others, accept responsibility, resolve problems, and work on teams, their academic achievement improves
  • Business leaders validate the importance of these skills as critical for success in the workplace

PSD is a kit (DVD & CD) available from the ICLE
  • Identifies ways to integrate personal skills in the overall school curriculum
  • Activities, strategies, processes, and lessons described in the kit will help schools develop a “culture of success” for every student (not only in school, but also in the world outside the classroom)
  • Portable, generic personal skills, habits, and character traits that educations, employers, and stakeholders have identified as critical to lifelong learning and success in adult roles

Schools with PSD programs offer students opportunities to:
  • Learn and practice leadership skills
  • Demonstrate positive social behaviors
  • Expand civic, consumer, and financial literacy
  • Participate in the community for the greater good
  • Practice critical communication skills

Data gathering – How are we going to measure student PSD?
  • Participation in service learning and community service (perhaps, expand clubs, etc.)
  • Assessments of personal skills: time management, etc.

How do they work as members of teams?
  • Trustworthiness, perseverance, other character traits
  • Conflict resolutions
  • Follow-up with graduate surveys
  • The global workplace – the world of wok is not literally a world of workers in global organizations who are no longer separated by geography
  • Meeting and collaborations taking place in virtual environments and employers expect workers to have master negotiation and distributed cognition in order to be successful
  • American workers must compete for jobs at every level with well-educated highly skills workers in other countries for jobs (China, India)
  • Outsourcing strips this country’s workers of their jobs
  • National Center on Education and Economy – data and statistics

Thousands of business leaders internationally stated that employees need:
  • Personal literacy (self-confidence, flexibility, decision making)
  • Social Literacy (engaging and challenging other people, listening skills, construction attitude, and collaboration)
  • Business Literacy (lead, guide, set goals, connect people, informational technology)
  • Cultural Literacy (negotiation, forming alliances, understanding cultural differences, cross-functional)

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills
  • 60% of workers are fired because they don’t get along with other workers or management
  • 70% of employers rated high school graduates deficient in core literacies
  • Don’t you wish the clerk at the store had these skills?
  • Poor customer service hurts the bottom line

What should we do?
  • Content of character is foundational
  • Character education programs (e.g. Kennesaw HS) – partnership with community stakeholders, all aspects of school and civic life, every teacher should be a model

Six Steps to a Model Initiative:
1. Identify leaders (top-down support)
2. Develop partnerships
3. Determine guiding principles (ICLE kit contains 12)
4. Establish plan (mission statement and vision, strategic plan involving all students, parents, and staff)
5. Implement practices (organic and natural component of curriculum and instruction)
6. ?

  • Kids will rise to the occasion is we give them an occasion
  • Kids need to have out-of-school experiences
  • Place them in a situation where they must interact as if they are employees of a company
  • Workplace situations impose authentic expectations
  • Incorporate teamwork in workplace projects
  • Force students to work on teams
  • Students should be expected to perform high level of proficiency
  • Focus on mastery
  • Bring in employers to talk about workplace skills
  • Personal finances

IDEA - What do families moving to a new community because of employment change need to do to get settled? Create a brochure . . . (electricity, cable, telephone, Internet, water/sewer, school registration, extras, insurance, bank accounts, voter registration, change mobile service, mailing address changes, etc.)

Study skills
Problem solving and decision making
-process skills
-interpersonal skills
-personal qualities
Research and solve community problems
Leadership skills training