Portrait of a Graduate

The Right Work, Right Now

As school leaders, it is important to ask:

  • What are the hopes, aspirations, and dreams that our community has for our young people?
  • What are the skills and habits of mind that our children need for success in this rapidly changing and complex world?
  • What are the implications for the design of the learning experiences—and equitable access to those experiences—we provide in our school systems?

The Portrait of a Graduate design process involves a sustained community conversation leading to a shared agreement about a unique community-owned picture of what graduates need for success. Every community and its school system is different so every approach will be tailored to the local context.


*Suggested audience would be a team from each school.

What is a Portrait of a Graduate and Why Should Schools Engage in the Process?

A portrait of a graduate can serve as a north star to drive transformation of traditional school models. Developing a portrait of a graduate pushes PreK-12 educators to articulate the full range of outcomes they want for their graduates, and work backwards from there to build a school model in which each element maps directly to the identified outcomes.

College & Career Readiness Outcomes

Big picture

Prairie Lakes AEA Office

Thursday, Feb. 27th, 8:30am-3pm

Pocahontas, IA, USA

Pocahontas, IA

Prairie Lakes AEA is supporting Portrait of a Graduate in schools and communities as we work together to:

  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Use local, regional and national data including resources, tools, and processes that will support your Portrait of a Graduate Team in all phases
  • Connect Iowa's College & Career Readiness outcomes & descriptors to the Portrait of a Graduate phases
  • Make connections to your current initiatives and use this information in a communication plan for how to message this work
  • Begin identifying your stakeholders to include on your team
  • Create an action plan for the design process, including how to engage your team in the work, a draft timeline, and activities/data/tools to facilitate the phases.

Questions? Contact us!

Julie Graber, Instructional Technology Consultant ~ jgraber@plaea.org

Mark Shea, Postsecondary Success Lead ~ mshea@plaea.org