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NWLSD Portrait of a Graduate

Northwest Local School District's 
Portrait of a Graduate

NWLSD is committed to providing our students with the academic content and the real world skills they need to succeed in life. As our students engage in the classroom, their learning experience provides students with a hands-on learning approach, which allows for deeper learning and understanding as well as the mastery of academic content.
When students engage in hands-on learning experiences they are better able to transfer what is learned in the classroom and apply it to experiences beyond the school walls, ultimately preparing them to be future leaders.  
Educating Tomorrow’s Leaders Today. 

Tomorrow’s Leaders Need Real World Skills

Tomorrow’s Leaders Need Real World Skills   
Hands-on learning allows students to explore beyond the traditional way of learning. Students have the opportunity to see, feel, touch, hypothesize, create, analyze and challenge in ways that mold them into the types of leaders our world needs in the future. 
These types of learning opportunities create deeper connections with the academic content they are learning, creating a deeper learning experience.
As our students explore, they learn skills like adaptability, communication, critical thinking, empathy and integrity, building the type of learner’s mindset that fosters the curiosity to always learn

Defining the skills our students need to thrive in and out of the classroom: 
Our students….
• demonstrate flexibility and resiliency by responding effectively to changing situations and circumstances
• reflect and respond productively to feedback, praise, setbacks, and criticism
• understand and balance differing views to negotiate workable solutions
Our students…
• express thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written, and nonverbal communication for a variety of purposes and audiences
• actively listen to understand others and remain open-minded
• use communication strategies to resolve disagreements peacefully and productively
Critical Thinking
Our students…
• consider multiple strategies and solutions to complex problems
• consistently analyze, assess, and reflect to enhance the quality of their own thinking
• apply intentional thinking that is clear, logical, and informed by evidence
• propose solutions that are mindful to the impact they may have on self and others
Our students…
• demonstrate awareness, sensitivity, concern, and respect for others
• seek to understand and connect with other’s thoughts, feelings, experiences, and cultures
Our students…
• earn others’ trust and respect by speaking and behaving in ways that are consistent and honest
• do the right thing even when it is challenging
Learner’s Mindset
Our students…
• display positive attitudes and beliefs about learning
• demonstrate curiosity by exploring concepts and asking questions
• actively seek diverse perspectives and learn from others
• demonstrate perseverance by working towards a goal despite difficulties while learning and growing from mistakes

How NWLSD Provides Deeper Learning Experiences:

Our Department of Curriculum worked with a team of NWLSD teachers during the 2021-22 school year to explore deeper learning. The teachers worked together to design deeper learning expeditions for each grade level from preschool through 12th grade for the 2022-2023 School Year. The expeditions are paired with the curriculum structure to offer students hands-on learning experiences that make the lesson come alive!
Our deeper learning expeditions have the following characteristics:
  • designed to be 1-4 weeks in length
  • aligned to Ohio Content Standards
  • targeted focus on at least 2 of the 6 real world skills
  • interdisciplinary content (a minimum of 2 subject areas)
  • learning experiences that require students to work interdependently
  • allow for student voice and choice throughout the expedition
  • strong process and product
  • must include meaningful interaction with others outside of the school, real-world connections
  • intentional opportunities for student reflection and self-assessment throughout the learning experience
The following is an example of the type of essential questions that our students will be working to answer as part of our grade level expeditions:

  • (Grade 6): How can we persuade more people to live and work in our community? 
    • A Social Studies teacher may explore lessons in history, geography, politics, culture, and economic systems to identify how people live and work in various communities. 
      • Expedition: A geospatial analyst who visits the classroom to show and discuss the aerial imagery used to develop geographic data that provides essential information about a ground or land's condition and how it impacts agriculture, urban planning, mining, and military intelligence.
    • A Language Arts teacher may ask students to write informative/explanatory texts and/or arguments to further examine the topic and convey and defend their ideas.
      • Expedition: Students visit a civil engineer firm to learn about the urban planning process. Afterwards they write arguments to defend their thoughts on what their community needs to create growth and revitalization in order to bring more people to live, work and play in the community.

Want to get Involved with our Deeper Learning Explorations?

NWLSD is looking for meaningful opportunities for our students to partner with members of our community and beyond as they work to explore content and answer these essential questions. We are looking to partner in our learning with real estate agents, urban planners, individuals working in our area parks, architects, farmers, gardeners, public health officials, firefighters, politicians, small business owners and many more. We are also seeking opportunities for our students to extend their learning beyond the classroom through field trips and other experiences.
Teachers have begun implementing our deeper learning expeditions this school year with the goal being to scale this work moving forward so that every student has the opportunity to be a part of an expedition each school year moving forward. We look forward to partnering with you to make learning meaningful for our students and to ensure that our graduates are ready to become productive contributors in our community and beyond.
There are two ways to partner: 
  • Funding: 
Interested in contributing to our efforts to ensure that all NWLSD students can engage in deeper learning experiences beyond the classroom? This is the next phase in implementing our Portrait of a Graduate. Please help us spread the word! Click Here
  • Classroom Participation:
We’re looking for businesses/organizations who can speak to our Pre-K - 12 grade students in order to deepen their understanding. Are you or your organization interested in engaging with our students about career exploration, providing hands-on learning opportunities, sharing real-world skills, participating in career fairs, or providing our high school students with internships or co-op opportunities? Click Here


Learn More About NWLSD’S Portrait of a Graduate:

In 2020, Northwest Local School District (NWLSD) partnered with Battelle for Kids and over 90 community members to develop a Portrait of a Graduate (POG). The Portrait of a Graduate (POG) is a key component of the district’s strategic student achievement objectives around student engagement, academic rigor, and increased achievement. The community's most highly valued competencies are identified in the Portrait of a Graduate (adaptability, communication, critical thinking, empathy, integrity and learner's mindset) and teachers are designing learning experiences for all students that foster the development of these skills, while also building deeper understanding and mastery of academic content.

Our POG Vision is Community Supported:

In January of 2020, district leaders began meeting with parents, staff, board members, communities of faith, business and community leaders, policy makers, social service agencies, educators, universities and students to identify the types of skills and competencies in which stakeholders want students to excel. There are numerous 21st Century skills, but our stakeholders prioritized the following competencies for our students: adaptability, communication, critical thinking, learner's mindset, empathy, and integrity. “Now, more than ever, learning experiences must not only provide the acquisition of rigorous academic content, but they must also foster the development of life-long skills that our young people need to thrive in this complex, rapidly changing world,” said Brenda Miller, NWLSD Director of Curriculum.
The district’s team of stakeholders met once per month starting in January, and convened throughout the month of April. The virtual meetings were held on the following dates: January 13, February 11, March 16 and April 14.

Click the links below to see an overview of our meeting minutes: 
Our Board of Education formally adopted our Portrait of a Graduate in May of 2021.

Portrait of A Graduate Competencies Defined

Northwest Local Schoo District Portrait of a Graduate Competencies and their definitions

Interested in sharing career information with our students?

NWLSD is looking for businesses/organizations who can speak to our Pre-K - 12
We’re looking for businesses/organizations who can speak to our Pre-K - 12 grade students about: career presentations, hands-on learning opportunities, real-world skills, career fair participation, internships, co-ops, and so much more!