Is your school district preparing your students? State approves ‘Portrait of a Graduate’ model

Stock image | Photo by Milkos/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Board of Education has approved a statewide model that identifies the ideal characteristics of a Utah graduate after going through the K-12 system.

According to a press release from USBE, the “Portrait of a Graduate,” called the Utah Talent MAP, was created through work done by a task force comprising board members and USBE staff members. It relied heavily on statewide surveys and feedback from educators, students, parents and other community members. It is meant to list aspirations that are not necessarily meant to be quantified and measured.

MAP stands for the following:

  • Mastery – The ability to demonstrate depth of knowledge and skill proficiency.
  • Autonomy – Having the self-confidence and motivation to think and act independently.
  • Purpose – Guides life decisions, influences behavior, shapes goals, offers a sense of direction and creates meaning.

“The Portrait of a Graduate is about creating a holistic view of what we expect from students in Utah,” USBE member Laura Belnap, who chaired the task force that developed the documents, said in the press release. “We want to empower parents, teachers, and students to be a voice in their community and go through a similar process. If our Portrait of a Graduate works for you, use it. But we encourage you to go through your own journey toward discovering the unique values and characteristics within your own communities.”

Within the Utah Talent MAP, 13 elements were determined through focus group discussions as characteristics important to a well-rounded Utah graduate:

  • Academic mastery.
  • Wellness.
  • Civic, financial and economic literacy.
  • Digital literacy.
  • Communication.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Creativity and innovation.
  • Collaboration and teamwork.
  • Honesty, integrity and responsibility.
  • Hard work and resilience.
  • Lifelong learning and personal growth.
  • Service.
  • Respect.

Read more: State sees graduation rates increase overall, but how are Washington, Iron counties faring?

The USBE encourages all schools and districts throughout the state to develop their own “portraits” of a graduate. These documents will be helpful as education leaders continue to innovate for competency-based learning to improve outcomes in public schools by advancing student mastery of concepts and skills.

As an agency, USBE will build on the elements described in the Utah Talent MAP and the state standards design prototype competencies for secondary education in spring 2020. Local pilot implementation of these prototypes may begin as soon as 2021.


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