Portrait of a Graduate

The Portrait of a Graduate reflects our vision and shared understanding of the specific skills students will need to thrive in the future. These skills drive the development of the student experience at The Buckley School.

In 2020, a small committee of faculty and staff gathered on Zoom to draft a “Portrait of a Graduate”— a paradigm leading independent schools adopt as a guide for developing curriculum and program. A Portrait of a Graduate is a set of attributes, skills, and qualities a school believes every student should possess when they walk across the stage at graduation to be ready for college and for life.

Buckley’s Portrait of a Graduate committee was comprised of teachers from Lower, Middle, and Upper School, along with staff from the offices of admission, college counseling,  and communications, the head of school, and members of the board of trustees. Together, they formed a “think tank,” conducting research within the Buckley community by surveying and interviewing the parent community, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees, and studying the research of marketing and consulting firms that study the future of economics, technology, and culture.

In addition, the parent community, faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees weighed in on the attributes they believed every student should possess. Those initial contributions, along with research on best practices, data trends, and studies on the future of industry and culture, became the committee’s groundwork. Starting with phrases such as “confident,” “empathetic,” “resilient,” and “critical thinker,” the brainstorming began!
Using a design thinking process in which many voices and viewpoints are considered, the Portrait went through several iterations, beginning with a first draft in January 2021 and ending with a final product in April. This included conversations with the full faculty and staff, with department chairs and then their departments, and with individual teachers. The finished version, along with the poster on the back of this sheet, was unveiled to the full community at the start of the 2021–22 school year.

A Program Review committee is now tasked over the next few years with implementing the Portrait into Buckley’s curricular and co-curricular offerings, on both a micro and macro level—from new course design to small in-class projects. There’s no end to how a Portrait—with all its complexities, and characteristics—can inform everything from the admission process to professional development, instructional innovations, building projects, and more!

Buckley is proud and thrilled to support every student in becoming an Architect of the Future.