Portrait of a Learner

Under the leadership of Dr. Patrick McLaughlin, Chief of Strategic Planning, Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) has begun development of its new strategic plan. This first step in this process is to create a new division-wide Portrait of a Graduate.

The Portrait of a Graduate will act as a guide in creating the division’s strategic plan, which will ensure that schools engage with and meet the needs of all students while preparing them with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in a complex and rapidly-changing world.

Ultimately, the division's new strategic plan will be a collective, local vision that articulates our community’s hopes for ALL of our students and enables the division to provide our students with an educational experience that prepares them to be lifelong learners and to make positive contributions to society, both while they are our students and in the future.

Portrait Design Team

With the help of Battelle for Kids, a national not-for-profit that partners with school divisions in their strategic planning efforts, ACPS met virtually over five meetings in September and October with a Portrait Design Team, including 112 community members who reflect a wide range of perspectives about future school division goals and priorities.

The Portrait Design Team is based upon the wide range of experiences, professional expertise, and personal identities of individual members. Many are teachers, support staff, and principals. Also represented are students, alumni and parents, as well as business leaders, community service organizations, and University of Virginia employees. The team will meet regularly to share their input on how the division can best design a Portrait based on several dimensions, such as:

  • The community’s hopes and aspirations for its young people;
  • The skills and habits of mind that children need for success;
  • The strategic plan’s impact on student learning experiences; and
  • The need for equitable access to learning resources for all students.

In alignment with the ACPS Anti-Racism Policy, the Portrait Design Team includes points of view that have often been underrepresented in such efforts and brings together an intersectional group representing each of our students in a meaningful way. It also reflects the division’s mission of establishing a community of learners and learning, through relationships, relevance and rigor.

Design Team Schedule

The Portrait Design Team met virtually on five occasions, with a two-part kickoff meeting, as follows:

  • Kickoff Meeting 1A: September 3, 2020 | 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Kickoff Meeting 1B: September 9, 2020 | 6 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Meeting 2: September 21, 2020 | 6 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Meeting 3: October 15, 2020 | 6 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Meeting 4: October 29, 2020 | 6 to 8:30 p.m.

View the Design Team meeting summaries and video recordings »

Community Forums

Superintendent Matthew Haas and Chief of Strategic Planning Patrick McLaughlin facilitated virtual discussions to gain input from the community regarding potential mitigating factors like changes to the school calendar and summer school options. 

  • Community Forum #1: November 17, 2020 | 6 to 7 p.m.
  • Community Forum #2: November 19, 2020 | 6 to 7 p.m.

View the Community Forum meeting summaries and video recordings »

Community Survey: Portrait Competencies

Albemarle County Public Schools is currently developing a Portrait of a Graduate, which is meant to be a collective vision that articulates our entire community’s aspirations for all of our students. We want our Portrait to be developed based on a local perspective, but with an eye toward the globalized society in which our students will live and work in the future.

In alignment with our Anti-Racism Policy, we strive throughout this process to collaborate with a broad range of community members representing diverse personal identities, professional expertise, and life experiences. Our primary objective is to provide our students with an educational experience that prepares them to be lifelong learners and to make positive contributions both today and tomorrow. In order to gather this feedback, we collected survey results in December. View the results here:

Click here to View Survey Results


The competencies that we adopt for our Portrait of a Graduate will become focus areas that we develop in students over the course of their time with us from kindergarten through graduation. These eight have risen to the top over the last few months of working on a draft of the Portrait collaboratively with a diverse group of Albemarle County community members.

Read about the competencies here »

Next Steps

Following the virtual community forums in November, the division has launched a community survey on strategic planning and conducting community feedback sessions this winter. A draft of the strategic plan is expected to go before the Albemarle County School Board in May 2021, and the division hopes to implements its new strategic plan in the 2021-22 school year.