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Battelle for Kids Unveils Comprehensive Report: “The Future of the Portrait of a Graduate”

Report Evaluates a Decade of “Portrait of a Graduate” Progress, Charts Future Course for Student Success Movement 

Battelle for Kids, a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to realizing the power and promise of future-ready, deeper learning for every student, announces the release of its seminal report, “The Future of the Portrait of a Graduate.” 

The comprehensive report evaluates a decade of progress in transforming education through the implementation of the Portrait of a Graduate framework. The report offers valuable insights and practical guidance for educators, policymakers, and community leaders committed to preparing students for a dynamic and unpredictable world.

Reflecting on two decades of high-stakes standardized testing, the report underscores the critical need to move beyond performance metrics to foster a more meaningful and engaging educational experience. 

“The relentless focus on test scores has often left students struggling to find personal relevance and joy in their education,” states Mike Duncan, Ed.D., president & CEO of Battelle for Kids. “Our new report highlights how the Portrait of a Graduate framework can reorient educational strategies to prioritize both rigorous academic content and durable skills. As a former superintendent, adopting this approach in my district shifted my focus from mere test scores to infusing education with meaning and joy, emphasizing real-world applications, and fostering student independence.” 

Key takeaways from the report include: 

  • Catalyst for Transformation: The Portrait is a powerful framework for a unified community vision, but lasting change requires a systemwide sustained effort and commitment from all stakeholders. 
  • Student and Educator Empowerment: Engaging students and teachers in the Portrait process fosters empowerment and validates their perspectives, shaping concept-based teaching and learning where both rigorous academic content and durable skills work in concert. 
  • Durable Skills Focus: Durable skills serve as a common ground, aligning stakeholders across diverse sectors to recognize their importance. 
  • Importance of Community Engagement: Deep community engagement and transparent communication are pivotal for successful Portrait implementation, driving support and action. 
  • Alignment with Workforce Needs: By integrating durable skills into academic content, the Portrait aligns education with workforce demands, preparing students for diverse post-secondary pathways. 
  • Sustainable Momentum Through Practice: Strong leadership, consistent practice, and integration of the Portrait into all aspects of the school district drive momentum and ensure long-term sustainability. 

“The Future of the Portrait of a Graduate” is the culmination of extensive research, community engagement, and practical experience. The report features contributions from key stakeholders, including the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, AASA, The School Superintendents Association, and America Succeeds. Additionally, with 70% of EdLeader21 Network member districts having implemented a Portrait, the report amplifies the voices of various district superintendents and central office leaders, offering tangible examples of real-world application and impact. 

The report includes insights into the planning, design, and implementation of Portraits from more than a dozen districts across the nation, including rural, suburban, and urban systems. 

Battelle for Kids is committed to helping school districts and state agencies create and implement unified visions that rally their communities around effectively preparing future-ready students. The report marks the beginning of continuous efforts. In the coming year, Battelle for Kids will lead and support initiatives to shape the future of the Portrait of a Graduate. 

“As we look ahead, it’s clear that the Portrait of a Graduate continues to be a guiding light for educational transformation,” remarks Colon Lewis, Ed.D., chief learning officer at Battelle for Kids. “By embracing these insights and lessons learned, we can pave the way for a more equitable and future-ready education system.”

To engage with the Portrait of a Graduate movement and access the full report, visit https://bfk.me/future.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

Current issue of Equity & Access:


Equity & Access - Issue 28

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