Portrait of a Graduate Revealed

“This is a shared vision of what qualities our graduates need to possess in order to be positive contributors to society and have a good quality of life,” said Durango School District 9-R Superintendent Dr. Karen Cheser. “Portrait of a Graduate adapts the traditional model of education to evolve in an ever-changing world.”

An infographic featuring a cairn – a vertical stack of rocks – serves as a visual metaphor for Portrait of a Graduate. Cairns are familiar to hikers navigating local trails, and for students it will represent “a wayfinder to balance skills on the path to success.” Here are the six competencies (a combination of dispositions and skills) that the community identified:

     ● Courageous Leader: Responsible, productive community member who takes initiative

     ● Creative Problem-Solver: Entrepreneurial, innovative, solution-focused design thinker

     ● Confident Communicator: Successful writer, speaker, listener, and digital content producer

     ● Agile Thinker: Curious, flexible, critical thinker exhibiting a growth mindset

     ● Empathetic Collaborator: Compassionate, inclusive connector focused on interdependence

     ● Resilient Risk-Taker: Self-aware, persistent, and hopeful future-planner

The district’s next steps for Portrait of a Graduate include creating blueprints, organizing kick-off celebrations, using the graphic throughout messaging and posting in schools, and eventual e-portfolios and capstone presentations. The plan will set the foundation for a guaranteed viable curriculum, sound instructional framework, and a strong system of support.

“I have appreciated the chance to listen to thousands of people inside and outside of our schools,” said Cheser. “They spoke with passion about what’s important to them, and what values shape our community. We’re really excited to bring this shared vision to light."


Portrait of a Graduate graphic