Imparting relevant and future-ready knowledge. Delivering a character-infused education. Providing signature experiences for personal growth and reflection. These are the evolutions of a Crescent education. And now, the Crescent Diploma will signify that students have met our enriched academic requirements, demonstrated the character qualities that underpin our Portrait of a Graduate, and were fully engaged in community life.
On October 25, Deputy Headmaster Nick Kovacs introduced the Crescent Diploma at a Parent Assembly. “The quest to the Crescent Diploma has been many years in the making and began in earnest in 2015,” says Kovacs. “It starts with the Ontario curriculum but layers depth and breadth unique to Crescent. It helps answer the question, “What differentiates our academic program?”
Crescent worked with The Centre for Curriculum Redesign (CCR), a non-profit global leader in 21st-century education, to develop their diploma. The partnership with CCR had several benefits, such as shining a light on the trends shaping the future of education, ensuring that academic program enhancements were grounded in research, and providing meaningful professional development to grow the capacity of Crescent leaders and faculty.
Kovacs spelled out the three main components of the Crescent Diploma: 1) Modern and future-ready knowledge, 2) Character-infused education, and 3) Signature experiences.
“Crescent has always gone above and beyond the Ontario curriculum with reach ahead, enriched, and Advanced Placement courses,” says Kovacs. “To maximize relevance for a rapidly changing world and society, Crescent has enhanced the curriculum in two important ways.” The first is by modernizing the content from traditional subjects. Examples are data science as part of mathematics, healthy relationships and consent as part of health education and public speaking as part of the performing arts. The second is by making room for new, future-ready subjects (like computer science, personal finance, psychology, and sociology courses) and topics (such as artificial intelligence, coding, digital literacy and emotional intelligence).
Character education is the next component of the Crescent Diploma. “A growing body of research has pointed to the need for students to balance knowing with doing,” says Kovacs. “The doing requires specific skills, dispositions, attitudes, and qualities.” Crescent has always been a character school, as reflected in its mission, Men of Character From Boys of Promise. Crescent’s Portrait of a Graduate asks three guiding questions: Who Am I? How Do I Lead? and What Is My Legacy? and identifies twelve character qualities, including courage, critical thinking, and adaptability.
What’s new is the deliberate, systematic, evidence-based approach that Crescent now takes to teaching and assessing character competency. It starts by mapping different character qualities to courses and co-curriculars, then breaks down each character quality into sub-qualities. This precision allows teachers to design courses with “look fors” in mind and gives students tangible ways to practice and demonstrate their proficiency in a competency. Through their work with CCR, Crescent becomes one of the world’s first schools to integrate and develop evidence to demonstrate character competency across its curricular and co-curricular programs. “It’s one thing to say, “I want to teach a certain character quality,” says Kovacs. “It’s entirely another to embed the teaching of a character quality deliberately and consistently and provide students with feedback on their progress in demonstrating it. We call this process character-infused learning.”
The third and final component of the Crescent Diploma is signature experiences. Students in each division can earn badge credentials for a range of experiences that recognizes efforts and achievements above and beyond the core curriculum and are central to a boy’s character journey. Examples are the Grade 5 “Let Grow” badge, the Grade 7 Public Speaking badge and the Grade 11 Modern Masculinity badge. “We are tying experiences to curricular and co-curricular programs,” says Kovacs. “All signature experiences link back to one of our twelve character qualities. It is yet another way we are embedding our mission meaningfully.”
A Crescent Education is a unique education. It is set apart by relevant and future-ready courses, character-infused education and a range of signature experiences that are age and stage-appropriate. The Crescent Diploma is symbolic of a student’s achievement, the sign of a well-developed Man of Character equipped to positively impact our world.
The Crescent Diploma officially rolls out in Grades 3 and 7 this year and next year in Grade 9. The Class of ‘27 will be the first graduating class to earn the distinction of a Crescent Diploma. Students are currently benefitting from a vast majority of the curricular and programmatic enhancements already in place.