Getting the right support in school

Jordan OPP

Jordan’s one-page profile

An excellent example of how by using a one-page profile in school, teachers can respond to the individual needs of their students, modifying their language and offering the right support for their future.  Jordan lets her profile speak for her when she doesn’t feel comfortable doing so herself and has had a great response from her teachers and school.

Written by Barb Swartz-Biscaro

Jordan is a 15 year old young lady from Dunchurch Ontario, Canada. When Jordan was starting secondary school in 2011, she and her mom created a High School one-page profile that included her vision of what she wanted to achieve. They felt it was really important to use a profile since she was moving from a very small elementary school and had some emotional and academic struggles. They wanted to educate her teachers about who she was and how to help her be successful.

Jordan and her mom worked together to type up a detailed profile using the information from the interactive one-page profile workshops they had taken part in.  The workshops also included an activity focusing on developing vision boards.

The profile was sent to all of her teachers at the beginning of each semester as well as the guidance counsellor, principal and vice principal. Each of the teachers responded by thanking Jordan and her mom for sharing it and offering essential information for supporting Jordan. The teachers used it to refer to throughout each semester and in conversations with Jordan’s mom. It is updated every new school year.

Most importantly Jordan is able to attend school with the confidence that her teachers are aware of who she is without having to explain herself verbally. Her Grade 9 French teacher noticed specifically the information about public speaking being a real struggle for Jordan.  He made arrangements with her to make the process less stressful and help her grow in that area. By the end of the semester Jordan was feeling much more confident about speaking in groups. The one-page profile also helped ensure that she had the necessary courses for her career choice.  At the end of the first semester after really struggling with Math, her teacher suggested she drop down one academic level in Grade 10. Her guidance counsellor saw this recommendation and referred to her vision in her profile which included a college diploma in child care. Her guidance counsellor knew that she would not achieve this vision if she were to take the recommended Math and spoke to Jordan’s mom about other options to keep Jordan in her current academic level. Jordan sought Math tutoring over her Grade 10 year and has achieved a high average in Math.

In Grade 10 Jordan started the year with some new teachers and struggles and worked with her mom to make changes to her profile to reflect this. Most notably, a teacher was calling her by her last name which she did not like but was uncomfortable asking him to stop. She added this to her profile and handed it to him and he began using only her first name. She also added that the location of her locker is significant to reducing her anxiety levels and the school accommodated her by giving her a locker central to her classes.

Jordan has seen great success with her profile and its updates. It seems to speak for her, which she is not comfortable doing. Teachers have appreciated receiving it and made whatever modifications they could to help her have a successful school day and year.

There is a website dedicated to sharing examples and best practice of personalisation in education where you can find out more about using one-page profiles in schools: www.personalisingeducation.org

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