January 2018 Guest Post: Jake Nipper, Sage Creek High School
Each month, a student from one of our high schools will write a guest post for the Superintendent Blog. The students will be asked to reflect on one of the characteristics described in our Graduate Profile. This month, for the inaugural post, Sage Creek High School student Jake Nipper reflects on the characteristic of “Effective Communicator and Collaborator.”
Carlsbad Unified Graduate Profile: Effective Communicator and Collaborator
“Graduates convey their thoughts and responses clearly. They interact productively to achieve common goals.”
Let’s take a look at a hypothetical student named Billy. Billy is a senior in high school, and his favorite subject is physics. He is working on his application to his top college choice, and finally gets to the point he’s been dreading: personal essays. He despises writing. Billy thinks he shouldn’t have to demonstrate proficiency in writing to get into a physics program.
There’s a reason personal essays are included in all college applications. They demonstrate a ubiquitous skill that is necessary for success in any and all career paths: communication.
Effective communication is a vital part of working with others and sharing information. There’s not a single industry or profession that doesn’t require it. It’s not just an academic skill, either. It is a part of life. Effective communication can be the difference between getting a raise or getting fired for insubordination at work. It can be the difference between getting a call back or getting ignored after a first date. It can be the difference between someone doing a job the way you wanted or getting everything wrong, based on the way you instructed them. If anything has to do with interacting with other people, communication is key.
Teaching any subject without embedding effective communication skills in a curriculum is one of the biggest disservices a teacher can do for their students. Fortunately for the students at Sage Creek, our teachers and faculty are extremely aware of this fact, and give students opportunities to grow in the skill of communication inside and outside of the classroom. Through group assignments, on-demand essays, presentations, speeches, Socratic seminars, electives, extracurriculars, and the Genius Project, students naturally develop communication and social skills as they learn academic subjects.
All Sage Creek students have had the chance to participate in a Socratic seminar on at least one occasion, and anyone that has knows how vital communication skills are to creating a good seminar. In a Socratic seminar, students gather in a group and participate in a free-form discussion on a topic with little to no teacher influence. Students must convey their ideas to one another impromptu-style and effectively if they want their idea or topic to be explored further by the group. It requires both quick thinking and excellent verbal skills to do so in such an environment, especially when an entire classroom is listening to your every word. And with plenty of Socratic seminars in our English curriculum, it helps to foster both of the aforementioned attributes.
Personally, one of the activities that has grown my communication skills the most is the podcast my friend Darius and I started this year, SagePOL. It’s an ongoing project for my multimedia journalism class, and began as an outlet for me to explore political, social, and economic issues from different perspectives. It has since evolved into my Genius Project. Working with another person that thinks differently than I do and trying to create a structured, organized podcast can be difficult, but through the script writing, planning, recording, and retakes, Darius and I have both become better orators between ourselves and in front of an audience.
Not only is effective communication an essential skill in the workplace, it is an essential skill in life. To function in society, one must have a mastery of their ability to convey thoughts to others. And I believe that Sage Creek High School prepares its students for exactly that.
"Jake Nipper is a senior at Sage Creek High School. Next year, he plans to attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to study business and pre-medicine. He’s a car enthusiast and an outspoken political voice on campus. He co-hosts a politics podcast online."