• We set out to ask, "What makes a graduate?" After nearly eight months of researching, conducting listening sessions with students and staff and committee collaboration, we're publishing our results.

  • "I want to have the will to be an innovator. To have a sense of self worth that isn't defined by academics alone but a desire to improve my whole self."

    - An Arlington Middle School Student


    Our Process

    When developing a strategic plan, it's easy to fall into the trap of listing "givens," things that are likely going to happen anyway and aren't aspirational in nature. We didn't want that for this strategic plan; we wanted to redefine and disrupt our process by identifying goals that will truly be transformative and continue our journey to the top. To do this, we set out to answer, "What makes a graduate?" by interviewing students, teachers, staff, parents, alumni and community members. These results created the Portrait of an ACS Graduate, our vision for students and what they will need to succeed in college, career and life by identifying 21st century skills, character traits and social/emotional competencies. Navigate the buttons and website below to learn more about how we defined the Portrait of an ACS Graduate. You can also view the document here as passed by the ACS Board of Education.

  • The following competencies were the most common trends we heard while developing the Portrait of an ACS Graduate. Committee members, students, teachers, staff, parents, alumni and community members in Arlington said graduates need these skills before leaving Arlington Community Schools to make them well-rounded students and citizens beyond test scores alone. As a school community, we will work to ensure these competencies are addressed in all grades PreK-12.

  • Our Strategies to Attain the Portrait of an ACS Graduate

    Developing the Portrait was just phase one for the committee; we then had to determine our strategies, or action steps, to live up to the ideals and competencies of the Portrait. Once the Portrait of an ACS Graduate was adopted by the committee, each team went back to their individual schools to solicit feedback from leadership teams and various teacher groups for possible strategies. Since each school is unique in terms of student needs and abilities and staffing, the strategies we adopted are overarching and broad in nature but specific enough to help guide the schools and district in this important work.

    A final thought as you read more about our adopted strategies below: our Portrait of an ACS Graduate Strategic Plan notably doesn't include timelines, dates of completion and specified action steps. Instead, it gives us a visionary set of goals, a north star through our Portrait and the space and flexibility needed to adapt to the needs of our students.