With two of three regional meetings concluded, the statewide initiative known as Portrait of a Graduate is nearing completion to clearly define the mindsets and durable skills North Carolina students should possess when they graduate from high school to ensure their readiness for civic life, career, or college.
The effort was launched last fall when funding was approved during a November State Board of Education (SBE) meeting. The Portrait aims to enhance classroom learning, helping prepare North Carolina’s students for an ever-changing world driven by technology, human interaction, and innovation. The finalized Portrait will also help guide policymakers towards a new testing and school accountability system to assess these skills and competencies, serving as a more balanced measure for student success.
Leaders from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) began working directly with local school districts this spring to solicit broad participation and engagement for the creation of the Portrait’s “Design Teams.” These teams are collectively building the statewide Portrait that can then be adopted by school districts. To date, more than 1,150 North Carolinians have been involved in the regionally grouped Design Teams.
“The grassroots effort to collectively identify skills and mindsets desired for our graduates is an important way we can complement the academic knowledge they receive in the classroom,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt. “Once complete, this Portrait will highlight other important skills students should possess in order to be well-rounded and ready for the path of their choice following high school.”
The Portrait is intended to drive better alignment between employers, communities, higher education institutions, and families as North Carolina’s schools help to prepare students for the postsecondary plans of their choice.
The Design Teams consist of educators, students, families, administrators, elected officials, representatives from local businesses, non-profits, workforce development boards, and higher education. The Design Teams specifically included representatives from across the education sector including: the NC Community College System, NC Independent Colleges and Universities, the University of North Carolina System, BestNC, myFutureNC, Communities in Schools, the NC Department of Commerce, the Emerging Issues Institute, Faith Based Network, and the NC Chamber of Commerce.
During the first meeting, Design Teams discussed four major shifts affecting the world and how those shifts could influence student learning. The four shifts included: Workforce, Pace of Change, Global, and Human Interaction. Design Teams identified the following elements of utmost importance:
- Empathy – connected to Human Interaction
- Technology – connected to Technology
- Innovation – connected to Pace of Change
- Civic Discourse – connected to Human Interaction
- Information Explosion – connected to Pace of Change
While these five elements will not directly be included on the final Portrait of a Graduate, they represent themes that will encompass more specific attributes.
During the second meeting, Design Teams discussed the competencies that students need to thrive in a 21st century world. These competencies will collectively be considered for inclusion in the final statewide Portrait of a Graduate. The larger list of competencies under review by the Design Teams can include mindsets and skills such as adaptability, collaboration, conflict resolution, leadership, communication, integrity, media literacy, resourcefulness and more.
North Carolina’s final Portrait of a Graduate will be released this summer.
Click here for more information on the Portrait of a Graduate process.