Atwater and Lake Bluff Elementary Schools Hold Passage Presentations

Self-reflection is one of the most powerful and effective ways to learn, grow, and achieve success because it requires examining and interpreting personal experiences to gain new understanding. No matter your age, anyone can benefit from practicing reflection, which is why the Shorewood School District implemented Passages two years ago.
Passages are presentations in which the students reflect upon their learning in front of teachers, administrators, and community members. Passages provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their growth in academics, growth in character, and desire to produce high quality work in elementary school all while preparing for their transition to the Intermediate School.
This year, passage presentations ran from Tuesday, May 21 through Thursday, May 30. Each student had a 30-minute time frame, where he or she spoke to a three-person panel comprised of a District administrator, a Shorewood secondary teacher and local community member. Parents and families were invited and encouraged to participate as audience members for their child’s passage presentation. Following each presentation, the panelists then had the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.
While only 6th grade cohorts did passages this year, the hope is that all District students in key transitional years—6th grade, 8th grade, and 11th grade—will participate in the future.
“What makes a passage powerful and meaningful is that it is rooted in student growth,” says District Director of Curriculum and Instruction Tim Joynt. “During the passage presentations, students reflect on personal and academic growth - how they have changed and developed as a student and as a person of character. The students also get to reflect on the upcoming transition to the next level of their education.”

Teachers assisted students in this reflection, providing time and structure for students to examine past academic work and think deeply about their behavior and character in preparation for their presentations.

“Passages are a key component to the District’s emphasis on authentic, experiential learning—a priority identified by over 100 community members during the February 2016 Shorewood Schools Visioning Summit,” says District Authentic Learning Coordinator Nate Schultz. “These presentations are an important way to demonstrate student growth as students engage in more authentic learning experiences.”

The District believes that passages require and empower students to take the lead role in their own learning, building the dispositions and skills they will need to succeed in college and in life.

View a video of Atwater Elementary students reflecting upon their Passages experiences at the Tuesday, May 28, School Board meeting below: