Portrait of a Graduate

What does it take for students to succeed in college, career, and life?

Every student has a different pathway to success. For some students, this means moving directly from high school into the workforce and pursuing certifications that strengthen their knowledge and skills. For others, it means going directly from high school to college and then the workforce. Just like on picture day, every student portrait—and how they will look when they walk across the stage with diploma in hand—is unique.

District leaders and the communities they serve know that schools must offer 21st century learning experiences that prepare students for an ever-changing world. But how do they come to agreement on what this means in practice?

When a community and district co-create a shared portrait of a graduate—describing what students need to ensure their success in college, careers, and life—there is real potential for collaboration and impact. The portrait of a graduate will: 
  • Focus the community’s conversation to prepare for, or strengthen ongoing, strategic planning and implementation conversations.
  • Prioritize spending with a clear aim on ensuring student success.
  • Create common ground for conversations among competing interests in the district, to give reason for and meaning to collaboration.

Battelle for Kids will help you engage your school community—including educators, parents, students, businesses, and other leaders—around a shared vision for student success and school system transformation. With a portrait of a graduate, everyone can come together on priorities uniquely tailored to the needs of students and the community. Reach out to us when you are ready to begin developing your district’s portrait of a graduate—to reach all students’ fullest potential.


The 21st Century Portrait of a Graduate displays essential knowledge, literacies, and mindsets for success in college, career, and life. Today’s student is challenged to be a life-long learner and contributor by embracing these roles:

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  • Strategic Communicator - Employs active listening and purposeful verbal, nonverbal, and written expression of thoughts and ideas
  • Engaged Collaborator - Seeks and contributes feedback and varied perspectives on shared work for continuous improvement, enriching the learning of self and others
  • Empowered Learner - Pursues goals and leverages resources with a reflective mindset, persevering and adapting to change as a lifelong learner and contributor
  • Global Citizen - Relates and contributes to a local and world community through empathy, compassion, cultural fluency, and service
  • Creative Critical Thinker - Probes the quality and interconnectedness of ideas and resources for problem-solving, innovation, and to satisfy curiosity about a fascinating world