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Developing Portrait of a Graduate Competencies

George HerseyGeorge Hersey Robertson School (GHR), (Coventry, CT). GHR prides itself on high student achievement and on fostering student growth emotionally, physically, socially, and culturally. To support this work, Coventry Public Schools recently adopted a district-wide Portrait of a Graduate (POG) statement: “Our graduates are empowered learners who have the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to thrive as members of a complex society.” GHR promotes the POG competencies of Critical Thinker, Engaged Collaborator, Empowered Citizen, Authentic Innovator, and Effective Communicator. GHR explicitly teaches, reinforces, and evaluates these competencies. The school has developed self-assessments, rubrics, and lessons to teach skills associated with Engaged Collaborator and Effective Communicator competencies for students in grades 3-5. The school plans to explicitly teach skills pertaining to Critical Thinker in the upcoming school year. To promote student ownership and empowerment, the school has annual student-led conferences, a yearlong effort in which students set personalized goals in reading, writing and math, collect evidence that shows progress toward meeting their goals, and then self-assess regularly. Students collect artifacts of their work in portfolios and share their growth with parents in the spring. In grade 5, the school is piloting digital portfolios as students create their own Google Site with tabs for each subject area. Students are continually involved in their own success and recognize the importance of their personal investment in school.