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Soft Skills

This week, I attended the Education and Business Workforce Development Summit at York Technical College sponsored by the South Carolina Department of Commerce, Duke Energy and Comporium. The theme of this meeting was “Working Together to Build a Stronger Workforce.” This was music to my ears!

The room was filled with business, community and education leaders in the Chester, Lancaster and York County area. We heard presentations from several experts from York Technical College and from local businesses who will ultimately hire our students (after they graduate, of course!).

What caught my attention was the fact that having technical skills and knowledge of a subject may get you a job, but “soft skills” will help you keep it!

What are those soft skills our students need that were mentioned at this meeting? How can we teach our students those soft skills while we have them in our public schools? (These were the first questions that crossed my mind!)

You probably remember my early focus on the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate (see this link). There is one section on this site that includes some of those soft skills discussed by the business professionals at the meeting. Specifically, the Life and Career Characteristics that include Integrity, Work Ethic, Global Perspective, Self-direction, Perseverance, and Interpersonal Skills.

The business professionals and hiring managers discussed the need for their employees (and future employees) to have skills in categories like planning and organizing, dependability, reliability, teamwork and conflict resolution. These are the skills our local employers are telling us that our students need to be successful in their respective businesses.

Rest assured, we are working with your children to help teach these skills even at the early ages for a more successful career opportunity down the road!

As an example of this training, this week, we watched the Giti Math and Science Clubs present to Giti executives and Chester City and County Council members in the culminating competition. My colleague and Chief Instructional Officer, Dena Dunlap, mentioned that she saw students using the soft-skills (Life and Career Characteristics) they need for the working world.

Mrs. Dunlap observed that:

"Students were making eye contact with the judges, being polite and well-mannered, working as a team, etc. This is exactly what we should be doing at every level....teaching teamwork, responsibility, planning, problem-solving, and working together to improve our environment. What we are doing even at an early age is helping to develop soft skills through project-based learning (PBL) such as the opportunity to participate in the Giti Math and Science competition." I think she is correct!

Parents, you can also emphasize these skills at home! Start at an early age with your expectations in the soft-skill areas. You will be preparing your child for the "career" stage of their lives!

As a side note, we want to thank the Giti Tire team and members of our City and County Council who served as judges for the competition! Special thanks to Giti team members Michel Dube, Bill Ratliff, Tony Quarles, Carole Wilbert, Ruby Vizcaino and Fang Chao Yang.

Thanks to Mary Guy and Shane Stewart from Chester County Council, and Angela Douglas and Carlos Williams from Chester City Council who gave of their time to serve as judges for the competition!

Happy Spring Break, and remember to read!


District News and High Fives..........

Congratulations to Chester County Students who participated in the GiTi Math and Science competition. Each club prepared a presentation that was an overview of their project. Students explored "going green" and invented an eco-friendly item that could benefit our community (health, environment, animals) and encourage students to become life-long productive citizens of Chester County through the use of math, science, and technology.

First Place High School - Great Falls High School

First Place Middle School - Great Falls Middle School

First Place Elementary School - Chester Park School of Literacy through Technology

Runners ups...

Chester High School , Lewisville High School

Chester Middle School, Lewisville Middle School

Chester Park School of the Arts, Chester Park School of Inquiry,

Great Falls Elementary, Lewisville Elementary