Portrait of a Graduate
Why Develop a Portrait of a Graduate?
A “Portrait of a Graduate” (Portrait) serves as a visioning device for a school system. It establishes the purpose for schools because graduates represent the culmination of the K–12 learning experience. Most families hope their children wear their cap and gown and walk across the graduation stage. A student’s successful graduation is one of the first rites of passage that can have significant implications on the scope of life choices to follow. While graduation itself is not enough to help young people maximize life’s opportunities, the competencies students develop by the time they graduate often inform the opportunities available to young people after high school.
Community Consolidated School District 15 (District 15) came together in the Portrait development process to discuss with community members the competencies District 15 prioritizes for its graduates. This process addresses several limitations in current education systems. Historically, education has emphasized content over skills and mindsets. A focus on coursework is necessary, but insufficient to prepare graduates for their post-secondary lives. As such, information about what students know and can do is either unclear or short in supply. The Portrait re-orients how learning is organized and reported, based on a manageable set of prioritized competencies that best prepare students for success after high school. Consequently, the “target” becomes clearer for how District 15’s community wants to prepare students for their futures, and information about the same is clearer to all stakeholders. This has implications for aligning curriculum, assessment, and designing students’ learning experiences.
Community Consolidated School District 15 and its community members wish to develop in students a set of key competencies that are transferable across time, space, and life’s myriad situations. Few, if anyone, can predict what situations students will find themselves in when they leave District 15. It is difficult to know exactly what content and skills they will need. To hedge against this uncertainty, it is critical to develop in our students' transferable skills and mindsets that can be applied in many situations, so they will meet challenges, seize opportunities, and continually grow throughout life.
Community Consolidated School District 15's Portrait of a Graduate was formally introduced to the school board of June 8, 2022.