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Portrait of a Graduate

ANWSD Portrait of a Graduate (PoG)

During the 2023-24 School Year, Addison Northwest School District  has been engaged in a process called Portrait of a Graduate (PoG). PoG is the clear and transparent articulation of what a learner will look and experience given our vision for the students in the Addison Northwest School District.  

PoG is typically designed to be an aspirational and descriptive vision of outcomes for the learner or graduate­ so as to create momentum for achieving education transformation. This happens when the educators and the community are galvanized around a shared vision and a more comprehensive definition of success that goes beyond the limitations of what traditional measures can communicate about a learner's readiness for the future. They also serve as the foundation from which leaders can determine what must change and what supports must be embedded in the system for POG to be realized. 


When the broader community-learners, teachers, families, local businesses, and community leaders­comes together to define the hopes, aspirations, and dreams for their young people, the resulting PoG becomes the shared vision and the school system's north star for learners of all ages throughout the system.  PoG is not only about the graduates of our school, it also describes the learning environment and the cultivation of the dispositions we seek to achieve throughout the school experience for students. 

The process of articulating the PoG requires deep, provocative conversations with the entire community. It allows stakeholders to wrestle with how the world is changing and the implications those changes have on the school system. The process encourages the questions:  

How might we equip learners to be prepared for the work world of the future? 

How might we best prepare them to be empathetic, flexible, lifelong learners,  and productive contributors in society?

How might we develop stronger learner agency and improved flexible pathways for all students? 

PoG articulates a community's shared aspirations for its young people. It provides the foundation to strengthen the system to better align the system toward intentional and well-articulated outcomes. The district is thereby enabled to provide an education that empowers learners with self-awareness and the capacity to be empathetic individuals, equipping them as lifelong learners, creators, innovators, and contributors.

A Portrait of a Graduate is a vision that articulates the collective hopes and dreams that a community has for its students; and the skills and attributes that all students need in order to be prepared for college, career and life. The process meaningfully engages a diverse team that represents all stakeholders, ensuring an equitable and representative process that unites the community. The resulting Portrait of a Graduate is a compass that guides district-wide strategic and instructional decision making and planning.

  1. Holistic Development: The "Portrait of a Graduate" approach emphasizes a well-rounded education that encompasses not only academic knowledge but also social, emotional, and practical skills. This approach better prepares students for success in various aspects of life beyond the classroom.
  2. Relevance to Real-World Demands: In today's rapidly changing world, employers and society at large value skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, adaptability, and problem-solving. The "Portrait of a Graduate" aligns education with these real-world demands, enhancing students' readiness for college, careers, and civic engagement.

  3. Personalized Learning: The framework allows for a more personalized approach to education. It encourages educators to recognize the unique strengths, interests, and learning styles of each student. This can lead to more tailored instruction and a deeper engagement with the curriculum.

  4. Long-Term Success: By focusing on skills and attributes that are relevant beyond school, the "Portrait of a Graduate" contributes to students' long-term success and fulfillment. Students are better equipped to navigate challenges, pursue meaningful careers, and contribute positively to their communities.

  5. Community Engagement: Developing a "Portrait of a Graduate" often involves input from various stakeholders, including educators, parents, students, and community members. This fosters a sense of community engagement and ownership in the educational process.

  6. Cultural Competence and Inclusion: The framework can emphasize the importance of cultural competence, diversity, and inclusion. It encourages schools to create learning environments that celebrate differences and prepare students to thrive in a globalized world.

  7. Continuous Improvement: Schools can use the "Portrait of a Graduate" as a guide for ongoing improvement. Regular assessments of students' progress towards meeting the outlined attributes can help schools refine their curriculum, teaching methods, and support systems.

  8. Life-Long Learning: The focus on skills like critical thinking, adaptability, and a growth mindset fosters a love for learning that extends beyond formal education. Students are more likely to become life-long learners who can continuously acquire new knowledge and skills throughout their lives.

  9. Alignment with Education Trends: The "Portrait of a Graduate" aligns with many modern education trends, such as project-based learning, competency-based education, and social-emotional learning. This alignment can enhance the overall quality of education.

  10. Positive Impact on Well-Being: By addressing social and emotional skills, the framework can contribute to students' mental and emotional well-being. Students who are equipped with coping skills, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence are better prepared to handle the challenges they may encounter.


 Incorporating the "Portrait of a Graduate" into the educational approach can help school districts prepare students for a successful and fulfilling life, adapt to changing societal needs, and contribute positively to the broader community.