Portrait of a Graduate: Year in Review and Preview

This year has been a whirlwind of staff and students showing off their PoG projects. We’ve had a great time celebrating our students’ strengths as Empathetic Collaborators, Resilient Risk-Takers, Agile Thinkers, Creative Problem-Solvers, Confident Communicators, and Courageous Leaders. 

While all of that celebration was going on, a committed group of volunteers from across our schools and community rallied together to design the PoG Blueprints, which are an even more unified understanding of the PoG. A blueprint is a detailed plan or program of action for success. The Blueprint Design Team collaborated to unpack and define the meaning of each competency using the exemplars in our organization as well as research and the community’s input. The team came up with a clear set of success criteria that will empower students of all ages – and adults, too – to demonstrate, learn, and grow their Portrait of a Graduate competencies.

Here’s one example of how we will gain more clarity from our blueprints. We’ve been teaching and learning about Creative Problem-Solvers this year. With the work of the Blueprint Design Team, we now have a definition and some success criteria. The team defined this competency as “Students are Creative Problem-Solvers when they approach problems with an entrepreneurial mindset, exhibiting curiosity and innovation while using design thinking to solve complex problems.” The specific criteria are that students will:

  • Approach challenges as a curious observer who sees past barriers by focusing on the future and constructing new opportunities/ideas about what might be.
  • Empathize and/or apply processes to untangle complex problems to get to the root of the problem that needs to be solved.
  • Use creative approaches or brainstorm new solutions to problems.
  • Persist through obstacles by staying solutions-focused and using “failures” as feedback and fuel for refining prototype/solutions to reach their desired ends.

With these criteria in mind, teachers and students can reshape the lessons so that students are being Creative Problem-Solvers and developing these competencies.

Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, all students will begin curating their PoG Portfolio, using the Blueprints to guide their reflection and growth in the PoG. This digital portfolio will travel with them through their school years, offering them a chance to see how much they’ve grown and to show others their best PoG work.  In 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 11th grade, students will use their portfolio to give a Capstone Presentation at their school. School leaders are beginning to design these rites of passage so we will be ready to launch in Spring 2024.

We want the PoG competencies to impact the life of every student. These skills are powerful and transfer into meaningful opportunities for students now and in the future. Join us as we continue to celebrate our students’ Portrait of a Graduate success.

Dylan Connell, Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment