East Texas school district implements ‘soft skills’ program

91 percent of employers say that soft skills are just as important as technical knowledge.
Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 6:21 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - The workforce in the United States has always looked favorably on hard skills, such as knowing computer programs, operating equipment, and actually knowing the functions needed to perform in any given profession.

Now, many employers and schools are viewing soft skills as equally or perhaps more important. Personal qualities like communication, being able to work well with others, critical thinking, and assertiveness: Skills that will help them succeed in the workplace.

91 percent of employers say that soft skills are just as important as technical knowledge. Cushing ISD Superintendent Dr. Brandon Enos is making an effort to prepare students early.

“Whenever I ask community members what’s important, what should we have embedded in our students when they graduate, they say they want responsible, respectful, on time adults who can look at you in the face, speak in a complete sentence that makes sense, and all of those things are components of the Great Expectations program,” said Enos.

Great Expectations is a program that Cushing ISD is using to instill soft skills in students.

“It’s a learning platform, it’s a professional development program where we teach teachers the best way to teach, and the best way for students to learn, and so there’s a bunch of classroom practices, 17 of them, that are focused around eight expectations, they’re at the core of everything we’re doing here,” said Enos.

The eight expectations include applauding every effort, helping each other, and practicing good manners. Students even professionally greet those who visit their classroom. Cushing ISD Student Seth Lekas says the program has made these soft skills easier to learn.

“Students also have a guideline of what to do, because I mean before you’d just be respectful yes sir, no ma’am, but now it’s different, you actually have a thing on the wall that can help you out,” said Lekas.

The Great Expectations program has been in effect at Cushing ISD for two weeks and is a three-to-five-year process.