Listed below are eight competencies under consideration for Albemarle County’s Portrait of a Graduate. The competencies that we adopt for our Portrait 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.
AdaptabilityWorks well in places where things are sometimes uncertain and priorities sometimes change. Shows quickness in thoughts and actions. Responds in useful ways to feedback, praise, setbacks and criticism. Understands, balances, and is able to work with many different points of view and beliefs to reach solutions. Believes in the idea of “FAIL,” or “First Attempt In Learning.”
Examples of adaptability include: believing that growth is important, setting goals, and dealing with change in helpful ways.
Anti-RacistHas an awareness of the connection between race, power and privilege. Wants to speak out and challenge acts of racism. Maintains healthy relationships with peers and school staff of all races.
Examples of anti-racism include: being able to see racism where it exists, challenging racist comments and ideas, having relationships with people of different races.
CommunicationExpresses thoughts and ideas well using oral, written and nonverbal skills in many forms and contexts. Listens to understand meaning and uses knowledge, values, attitudes and intention while speaking and writing. Exchanges ideas for different purposes, paying attention to the needs of different audiences.
Examples of communication include: having the ability to express thoughts and feelings through a variety of formats, to listen well, and to offer feedback.
CreativityShows originality. Has imagination. Comes up with new ways of thinking about things. Connects ideas that may not have been connected before or connects them in new ways. Rises above traditional rules, patterns and relationships to create new and useful concepts, methods or meanings.
Examples of creativity include: making unique connections and creating new ideas.
Critical ThinkingUnderstands the “bigger picture” and suggests solutions that consider the effect they may have on other parts of the system. Seeks to make the quality of understandings better by thinking about, assessing, and questioning present ways of thinking. Thinks clearly, rationally, with an open mind, and using evidence.
Examples of critical thinking include: having the ability to solve problems, asking thoughtful questions, self-evaluating, and summing up ideas correctly.
EmpathyValues diverse cultures and unique points of view. Asks others about their thoughts. Understands and appreciates what others are thinking, feeling, and going through. Uses this understanding to nurture relationships, improve conditions, create more equity, and promote the inclusion of all.
Examples of empathy include: being open to new ideas and cultures, validating the feelings of others, and extending compassion.
Learner’s MindsetEmbraces curiosity to experience new ideas. Has the desire to learn, unlearn and relearn. Develops positive attitudes and beliefs about learning. Understands that learning is growing and doesn’t always happen in order and/or the way we expect. (School lessons and life lessons are often opposite in this regard. In school, the lesson often comes before the test. In life, the lesson often comes after the test.)
Examples of learner’s mindset include: seeking out new opportunities to gain knowledge, being thoughtful about developing skills and talents, and showing evidence of growth.
Social Justice and InclusionShows a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. Promotes fairness for all groups while seeking to address and acknowledge issues of injustice, privilege and power. Has an ability to work within and assess current leading systems. Believes that all groups should have an equal ability to participate in a society that is shaped to meet everyone’s needs.
Examples of social justice and inclusion include: being aware of how privilege and power have an effect on communities, accepting and valuing cultural differences, seeking input from and having relationships with people of diverse backgrounds.