Portrait of a Graduate in Action: Discussing the seven competencies


Portrait of a Graduate in Action: Discussing the seven competencies

September 29, 2023

Portrait of a Graduate in Action is a regular feature that will provide greater meaning and examples to the Warwick Valley Central School District’s Portrait of a Graduate, a representation of the district’s priority goals for teaching and learning to create graduates who are collaborators, communicators, creators and innovators, ethical and global citizens, resilient individuals, problem-solvers, and life-long learners.

Welcome to a new feature from the Warwick Valley Central School District that is intended to discuss the seven qualities that represent the Portrait of a Graduate and bring them to life through stories about education in our classrooms and schools. 

The Portrait of a Graduate model was created through a multi-year effort to define and design a modern educational program that meets the needs of today’s students. It all began in 2016 with more than 2,250 students, parents, teachers, and community members taking part in a series of surveys, discussions, and meetings under the title #TheirFuture. The input we received from our students, parents, teachers and community members were used to create our North Star, a 1,015-word vision statement that specifies the cognitive, personal and interpersonal competencies we want our students to have when they graduate.  The collaborative initiative sought to ensure that all Warwick students receive a strong foundation to learn, lead, and find success.

Now, educators, administrators and staff in the school district work every day — from the moment a student enters kindergarten through to commencement — to ensure that Warwick Valley graduates possess the Portrait of a Graduate skills necessary to be collaborators, communicators, creators and innovators, ethical and global citizens, resilient individuals, problem solvers, and life-long learners.

The instructional vision, combined with curriculum implementation efforts by the district’s administration and teachers, ensures that all students have adequate and equitable access to education that prepares them for their futures.

The Portrait of a Graduate is not only incorporated into our curricular programs, it is an integral part of our overall school culture, and it is represented visually in every school district building and in our public-facing communications. Here are the seven qualities that make up the Warwick Valley Central School District Portrait of a Graduate:


Collaborators hear, acknowledge, and appreciate a diversity of perspectives in conversation. They foster strong group dynamics by remaining open to varied opinions and valuing the input of others. They solicit suggestions from others when forming ideas and solving problems, and consult multiple sources to inform their opinions and conclusions. Collaborators unite those around them to achieve a common goal.


Communicators connect with people who are both like and unlike them. Communicators read and listen; they carefully research and ask questions. They know their topics, know their audiences, and are able to grasp broad ideas to distill and make them digestible for others. They write, speak and present their ideas digitally in ways that advance learning by educating and empowering.

Creator / Innovator

Creators/Innovators utilize their imagination and evidence-based knowledge. They strategize to solve problems, investigate answers to their own questions, and meet challenges with solutions to further their own learning. They often share their ideas and feelings through the arts, design and building processes. Similar to Collaborators, Creators/Innovators consider information from different sources and apply it in new ways to make things, disseminate ideas or provide solutions. They carefully examine their sources and consider the potential impact on others.

Ethical and Global Citizen

Ethical and Global Citizens are neighbors to the world, exhibiting empathy, compassion, and respect for others. They strive to understand a variety of cultures and perspectives outside their own, including language study. They consider the issues of the day through the lens of local, national, and global perspectives – from social issues to environmental issues. Ethical and Global Citizens must act with integrity, be community-minded and understand the foundations of our nation – both rights and privileges – and the responsibilities we share to others in the global community.

Resilient Individual

Resilient Individuals make good choices that enable them to persevere when challenges arise. They choose to maintain a healthy body and mind, and surround themselves with supportive, positive people. They stay goal-oriented and tackle tasks through successful planning. Resilient Individuals understand that self-reflection and advocacy are keys to growth and self-improvement.

Problem Solver

Problem Solvers, when faced with unique challenges, are equipped with the knowledge and drive necessary to face those challenges with understanding and ingenuity. They recognize society’s needs and come up with original ideas, offer astute alternatives, and identify unseen connections that lead to new solutions. Problem Solvers are generous with their efforts toward a positive resolution, and unselfish about the benefits those ends will deliver to the community.

Life-Long Learner

Lifelong Learners don’t just love learning, they are dedicated to understanding themselves and their world more and more over time. They are enthusiastic and hopeful about what new knowledge they may be able to obtain from and for their global community. Lifelong Learners can be professionals dedicated to their research, artists committed to expression, or anyone who has made self-directed learning an essential part of their personal growth. They honor the work of their teachers by embracing and continuing their own education beyond the classroom for their lifetime.

Portrait of a Graduate graphic


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Comments are closed.