Portrait of a Graduate

What are the skills necessary for success for all children in this rapidly changing, increasingly diverse, and interconnected world?  This important question provides the impetus to creating more engaging, rigorous, and authentic learning for all children.

As a result, the School Board adopted the FCPS Portrait of a Graduate in the fall of 2014, which outlines what our community believes is important for our graduates to know and be able to do when they leave FCPS. While still focusing on the academic content areas, the Portrait of a Graduate also allows FCPS to move beyond the high stakes testing environment and develop the skills in our students that employers are seeking for their workforce.

The Portrait of a Graduate will be the center of the FCPS Long-Range Strategic Plan, which will be developed during the 2014-15 school year.  The four strategic goal areas are:

  • Student success
  • Caring culture
  • Premier workforce
  • Resource stewardship

Specific objectives and action steps will complete the strategic plan and will assist in aligning FCPS' work so that we are continuously improving in the years to come. 

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Applies effective reading skills to acquire knowledge and broaden perspectives

Employs active listening strategies to advance understanding

Speaks in a purposeful manner to inform, influence, motivate, or entertain listeners

Incorporates effective writing skills for various purposes and audiences to convey understanding and concepts

Uses technological skills and contemporary digital tools to explore and exchange ideas

Respects divergent thinking to engage others in thoughtful discussion

Demonstrates the ability to work interdependently within a group to promote learning, increase productivity, and achieve common goals

Analyzes and constructs arguments and positions to ensure examination of a full range of viewpoints

Seeks and uses feedback from others to adapt ideas and persist in accomplishing difficult tasks

Acknowledges and understands diverse perspectives and cultures when considering local, national, and world issues

Contributes to solutions that benefit the broader community

Communicates effectively in multiple languages to make meaningful connections

Promotes environmental stewardship

Understands the foundations of our country and values our rights, privileges and responsibilities

Demonstrates empathy, compassion and respect for others

Acts responsibly and ethically to build trust and lead

Engages in problem solving, inquiry, and design of innovative solutions to overcome obstacles  to improve outcomes

Uses information in novel and creative ways to strengthen comprehension and deepen awareness

Demonstrates divergent and ingenious thought to enhance the design/build process

Expresses thought, ideas, and emotions meaningfully through the arts

Evaluates ideas and information sources for validity, relevance, and impact

Reasons through and weighs evidence to reach conclusions

Engages in healthy and positive practices and relationships to promote overall physical and mental  well-being

Persists to accomplish difficult tasks and to overcome academic and personal barriers to meet goals

Uses time and financial resources wisely to set  goals, complete tasks, and manage projects

Shows strong understanding and belief of self to engage in reflection for individual improvement and advocacy

Strategic Plan for FCPS

Student Achievement Goals and Projects


Letter-sized poster (pdf)

Letter-size chart of the descriptors (pdf)


Dr. Garza's Keynote Presentation: Portrait of a Graduate

Interview: Steven Lockard, Portrait of a Graduate

What does an FCPS graduate need to be successful?

Karen Garza, Ph.D.

Steven Lockard, Ph.D
Deputy Superintendent

Christine Donohue
Director of Operations

8115 Gatehouse Rd.,
Falls Church, VA  22042


Webpage Curator

Nancy Moy

Last Updated

December 17, 2015