Portrait of a Graduate

Portrait Of Gradute_CCR copy (1).pdf

Re-imagine Your Graduates

The future is both awe-inspiring and unpredictable. To ensure our students are future-ready, we need to start measuring what matters rather than measuring what is easy. Start here.

Battelle for Kids at PortraitOfAGraduate.org is leading a movement to rethink the knowledge, skills, and dispositions our learners will need to attain and be able to demonstrate when they graduate from our schools. Click here to access their materials.

The Aurora Institute also has guidance out for creating a profile/portrait of a graduate. Click here to access their white paper on Redefining Student Success: Profile of a Graduate.

PoG Supt. Overview (4).pdf

Do you want help developing the portrait/profile of a graduate in your learning organization? Contact us at The Center!

Iowa Portraits

Van Meter Community Schools

Cedar Rapids Community Schools

Washington Community School District

West Des Moines

Read more here!

West Delaware

Bettendorf Community Schools

Tipton Portrait of a Graduate REV 3 (1).pdf

Tipton Community Schools

Open their portrait in a new window to see the full image.

Clinton Community Schools

Norwalk Community Schools

Read more here!

Des Moines Christian School

Read more here!

Heritage Christian School

Read more here!

Dubuque Community Schools

West Monona Schools

Sioux Center Portrait of a Graduate-One Page Flyer.pdf

Sioux Center Community Schools

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Harlan Community School District

Getting Started with Implementation

Are you in the latter phases of the Portrait/Profile of a Graduate process? Are you seeking ways to build a system where your students have opportunities to demonstrate these new competencies?

The ideas below are examples of ways to build learning opportunities that elicit adaptive competencies and 21st century skills. Access to opportunities should be designed with equity as a driver, ensuring that all students in the school system are able to participate in deep learning experiences that allow them to develop and demonstrate these competencies. 

See our Problem- and Project-based Learning page for more ideas.

BEST Self-Direction Toolkit-v1.pdf

BEST Self-Direction Toolkit

Click the image to access the full PDF. 

Click here to see the BEST Self-Direction Toolkit website with additional resources.

Exemplar Resource

The BEST Self-Direction Toolkit is a phenomenal resource for getting started at the classroom level with tools that support students' metacognition, goal-setting, feedback skills, and evidence collection. Currently, the only essential skill that has exemplar resources is Self-Direction, but additional resources for Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication are coming in 2021. 

Note: Although Self-Direction may not be in your Portrait/Profile, the tools within this toolkit can be applied to any Portrait/Profile competency.

The kit contains:

Introduction to Exemplar Resources

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTA) asserts that we are in an "innovation economy" and advocates that the skill areas on the left are the key competencies young people will need as they transition into college, career, and civic involvement. 

If these (or something like them) are in your Portrait of a Graduate, explore the opportunities below to see if they are a match for your students and your context. 

Remember that many of these opportunities cross disciplines and students can earn credit in more than one standard, competency, or course at the same time. See Iowa's updated CBE Program Standards Guidance for more information.

Exemplar Resource from NFTE


Mini immersion experience of 1.5-2 hours

Exemplar Resource from NFTE


Team-based, online program, 24/7 learning

Exemplar Resource from NFTE


Imagine a "flexible/modular curriculum that can be blended or infused, semester or full-year, where students use lean startup methodologies to develop and test business ideas" (NFTE.com). This NFTE felxmod opportunity can be its own course or could be paired with ELA, business, economics, finance, social studies, CTE courses, or other content areas where these desired skills and habits of mind are a match.

With competency-based pathways in place, students can earn credit in MORE THAN ONE of these areas at the same time. See Iowa's updated CBE Program Standards Guidance for more information.

There are additional courses on the NFTE website that you can add to your course sequences within or across disciplines. 

NFTE also offers Entrepreneurship 1 and 2, as well as The Entrepreneurship and Small Business (ESB) Certification (click here), which "is one of the offerings in Pearson’s Certiport® Business Fundamentals Certification Program. The ESB was designed for use in academic settings such as high schools, vocational schools, community colleges, and technical colleges. Students who pursue ESB certification need not have hands-on experience managing a small business but to pass the exam will need to demonstrate knowledge of key concepts and entrepreneurial and small business principles.

The ESB certification prepares students for college and career, and is an engaging tool that can further motivate students, whether they seek to enter the small business sector immediately after graduation or intend to pursue additional post-secondary education and training." (NFTE.com)

Introduction to an Exemplar Resource

Check this out!

globalgoals.org shares that "There are 17 Global Goals to achieve these 3 extraordinary things by 2030:

You can access their website to get free resources, lesson plans, and even a guide for whole-school participation.

According to the globalgoals.org website, the "World’s Largest Lesson introduces the Sustainable Development Goals to children and young people everywhere and unites them in action."

They go on to  share that "World’s Largest Lesson brings the Global Goals to children all over the world and unites them in taking action. Since our launch in September 2015, we have reached over 130 countries and impacted over 8 million children each year. 

We believe all children everywhere should have the opportunity to learn about the Global Goals and feel inspired to take action for them. That’s why all our resources are free, open source and translated into over 10 languages. We believe in the power of creativity and that all children can find their own individual way of taking action for the Global Goals." (globalgoals.org)

Storing and Showcasing Student Competencies

Are you ready for students to demonstrate evidence of their competencies? Are they ready to share their learning with an employer, parent, college, or community member? 

Creating portfolios to showcase student learning are an essential part of the Portrait of a Graduate process. It will be important for students to have space to store their processes and products, as well as for authentic audiences to see evidence of student demonstration of learning within and beyond the classroom.

Ideas for Getting Started

Click the button above to navigate to our page on portfolio assessment. Click on the button below to navigate to our page on student data literacy.

Digital Badges and Micro-credentials for Learners

Digital badges are a way for learners to acquire currency for their learning experiences, both in and out of the classroom. Badges can be micro-credentials of the adaptive competencies selected during a district's Portrait of a Graduate process, or they can be used within the context of a single classroom. The key with badging is to ensure that learner agency drives the demonstration of each micro-credential, and that demonstration requires transfer and defense of learning so that learners can develop these important future-ready skills.