/ December 4, 2023

Preparing All NH Students for Success in an Interconnected and Complex World

Categories: BEST (Building Essential Skills Today) For the Future Portrait of a Learner WSP (Work Study Practices)

New Hampshire’s Portrait of a Learner: Building Essential Skills for the Future The NH Portrait of a Learner (PoL) is pivotal in achieving a more comprehensive understanding of student success […]

New Hampshire’s Portrait of a Learner: Building Essential Skills for the Future

The NH Portrait of a Learner (PoL) is pivotal in achieving a more comprehensive understanding of student success by serving as a more well-rounded measure. It showcases students’ growth and academic achievements and ensures their preparedness for civic engagement, careers, or further education. The NH PoL supports educators in supporting students in mastering challenging academic content and the essential skills that will propel their success in today’s rapidly evolving educational landscape. 

Building New Hampshire’s Portrait

The PoL outlines a standard set of essential skills that all NH students need to succeed in learning, career, and community in our rapidly changing world. NHLI undertook a collaborative endeavor by schools, businesses, and communities to discuss and identify competencies each student should possess when they leave public education to ensure their readiness for a future defined by innovation and interconnection.

Hundreds of individuals around the state representing educators and school administrators, students, parents, business leaders, college and university representatives, elected officials, and community leaders developed the New Hampshire Portrait.

The Portrait comprises five essential skills: Critical thinking and problem-solving, communication, collaboration, adaptability, and learner’s mindset.

The graphic below illustrates the unpacked essential skills.

Moving Forward

This portrait has the opportunity to impact education in our state positively. The New Hampshire Learning Initiative is committed to doing this in the following ways:

  1. Organize local and statewide engagement with the NH PoL to provide a bridge to business and industry
  2. Support efforts to define what the NH PoL looks like locally and map local context and assets
  3. Develop aligned teacher and leadership profiles that describe the different leading methods necessary to advance the NH PoL.
  4. Empower and support local communities to explore different ways of implementing the NH PoL and adapting it to their needs and priorities.
  5. Network local communities to learn from one another 
  6. Encourage coherence of aligned initiatives at every level of the system.

New Hampshire’s Portrait of a Learner represents a visionary roadmap for education in our rapidly changing world. It stands as a testament to schools, businesses, and communities’ commitment to nurturing students’ essential skills, ensuring their readiness for a future defined by innovation and interconnection.

The NH PoL is not merely an educational guideline but a powerful catalyst for positive change. It elevates the perspective of student success, emphasizing academic achievements and the acquisition of critical life skills. By prioritizing competencies like critical thinking, communication, collaboration, adaptability, and a learner’s mindset, it equips students for a world where agility and versatility are paramount.

This collaborative endeavor, crafted with input from various stakeholders, has the potential to reshape education in New Hampshire and beyond. It invites schools, businesses, and communities to unite and chart a course toward a brighter future. District POLs and the NH POL share common values and critical skills. By engaging locally, harnessing the collective wisdom of communities, and promoting coherence in educational initiatives, we can ensure that the portrait of a learner becomes more than just a framework; it becomes a dynamic reality.

So, as we look ahead, let us continue to build upon what works in New Hampshire and keep our eyes on what’s next, all to empower our learners to thrive in an ever-evolving world. The Portrait of a Learner is not just an educational document; it’s a commitment to fostering skills, knowledge, and readiness in the students who will shape our future.

Brian Stack

Brian joined NHLI in July of 2022 as Director of Competency-Based Learning. He most recently served as a New Hampshire high school principal at Sanborn Regional High School and is co-author of Breaking With Tradition: The Shift to Competency Based Learning in PLCs at Work (Solution Tree, 2018). In 2017, Brian was recognized as the NH High School Principal of the Year. His school is recognized nationally as a model PLC and competency-based school. Brian has consulted, coached, and presented at conferences and Institutes throughout the United States, and lives with his wife and five children on the NH Seacoast,

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