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Portrait of a Learner

The Portrait of a Learner Process

In the fall of 2022, a district-wide committee was established to oversee the development of the creation of the Portrait. The approach involved proactive communication with a wide range of stakeholders regarding skills, abilities and attributes necessary for a pK-12 learner in SAU 21. This communication extended to both joint and individual school boards, the Joint Board, SAU 90, building staff, students, and the broader community.

Staff input was collected through department and staff meetings, as well as digital surveys. To ensure inclusivity the team used resources such as videos, handouts, and protocols. The process involved gathering input on guiding questions, refining language and priorities, and seeking out additional feedback in a cyclical process. Additional consideration was given to goals that were specific and measurable.

Students participated through digital surveys, planning activities, and focus groups. Additionally, the NH Gallup Student Poll and similar aggregate tools were used to assess needs. The team obtained parent feedback through surveys, focus groups, and several community forums. 

School board members were engaged through both building and Joint Board meetings. Lastly, the team specifically sought feedback from community groups, including but not limited to the Hampton Rotary and Senior groups. 

The input from all stakeholders was synthesized and cross-referenced with existing programs and expectations, such as WHS Learning Expectations and K-8 CARES/Habits of Learning. Using this feedback we developed a working draft of the Portrait of a Learner, focusing on five ‘core’ themes or categories of learning: academics, mindsets, essential life skills, physical and mental wellness, and community engagement. 

Finally, toward the end of the 2022-2023 school year the revised version of the Portrait of a Learner was presented to all stakeholders once again, seeking their approval. Upon approval, the final version was prominently displayed in schools and throughout the community, marking the culmination of an inclusive and comprehensive strategic development process.

The creation of a visual representation of the Portrait was a collaborative effort, involving students, staff, and external experts such as marketing specialists. After developing a working draft of the visual, it was presented to all stakeholders for their input. Feedback was collected and incorporated, resulting in revisions and the adoption of a primary and secondary logo: 


Phase II of the plan (Winter 2024) includes defining specific and measurable SAU wide goals and action steps to be presented to the Joint Board for adoption. We intend to use these to spearhead meaningful professional development and educator evaluation. This will be supplemented by continuous monitoring of progress and measurement through school and district data.The goal is to firmly embed the Portrait of a Learner (POL) within both the district and building strategic planning processes. This may, for example, include updates to our respective building goals and mission statements, ensuring that the POL is not only visible but also relevant. 

SAU 21 plans to leverage existing opportunities and established programs to further support student progress in these competencies. This involves a review of learning processes already integrated into classrooms across all grade levels, considering the implications for assessment within each department and class. The alignment of the POL across our districts is a key focus of our work.

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