Skip To Main Content

Portrait of a Graduate

NKC Schools and our community of students, families, teachers, staff, leaders, business partners and the Board of Education are committed to developing in all students a set of key competencies that are transferable across time, space, and any situation to prepare for a future of success. During the Portrait design process, a team consisting of all stakeholder groups reviewed an inventory of skills, literacies, and mindsets. The seven chosen for NKC Schools' Portrait of a Graduate represent the key competencies for student success to graduation and beyond. 

Listen to our students to learn more about what each key competency means in their own words.

Portrait of a Graduate

Portrait of a Graduate

Work effectively in a climate of ambiguity and changing priorities. Demonstrate agility in thoughts and actions. Seek out and respond productively to feedback, setbacks, and constructive criticisms. Understand, negotiate, and balance diverse views and beliefs to reach broadly supported solutions.


Articulate thoughts and ideas using oral, written, and nonverbal skills in a variety of forms and contexts. Listen effectively to decipher meaning, including knowledge, values, attitudes, and intentions. Exchanges ideas for a range of purposes and audiences (i.e., to inform, instruct, motivate, persuade, learn, develop relationships, etc.).


Honor and leverage strengths of group members to build collective commitment and action. Enrich the learning of both self and others via cooperative efforts. Seek, contribute, and respond to feedback to achieve collective outcomes. Elicit diverse perspectives and contributions. The greater good, common ground, and compromise are vital concepts related to this competency.


Demonstrate awareness, sensitivity, concern, and respect to connect with others’ feelings, opinions, experiences, and cultures. Use awareness of others’ feelings, opinions, perspectives, and experiences to inform creative and effective decisions and actions.


Actively evaluate and develop a set of core values that are evident in choices and behaviors. Earn and value others’ trust and respect through honest, principled behaviors. Develop personal, civic, social, local, and global responsibility through ethical and empathetic behaviors.


Embrace curiosity and creativity to experience new ideas. Possess the desire to seek new knowledge and understandings, and to refine current knowledge and understandings. Seek divergent perspectives in order to broaden and/or refine knowledge. Develop positive dispositions and beliefs about learning to power a lifelong attitude. Challenge untested assumptions.

problem solving

Identify and analyze underlying causes of issues. Identify, evaluate, and prioritize creative responses to difficult or complex situations. Integrate multiple sources of data for informing issue understanding. Persevere and maintain curiosity to advance understanding of core issues to complex challenges. Reflect critically on successes and failures for further understanding original issues.


Portrait Design Process

As one of the largest, most diverse school districts in Missouri, North Kansas City Schools serves nearly 21,000 students. As champions for all students, NKC Schools' mission is to ensure that all are life-ready and ethically grounded in an ever-changing world through innovative educational experiences that inspire lifelong learning, embrace inclusion, and forge a unified community. In seeking to continually improve our systems and serve students, NKC Schools will employ change and innovation processes that boldly redefine the high school experience.

Over the course of several months during the 2019-2020 school year, NKC Schools brought together a Portrait Design Team to bring this vision to life. This team was a diverse group of individuals representing all stakeholder groups: students, staff members, teachers, district leaders, parents, Board of Education, business partners and community members. The Portrait Design Team identified the seven key competencies for our Portrait through a rigorous process, including research, concept design and development, and broader community outreach. This group's charge was to "develop a collective vision that articulates our community's aspirations for all of our students."

This collective vision prioritized a set of competencies that prepares all students for success now and in the future, regardless of what path they choose upon graduation. This is an exciting time as we seek to enhance student choice, improve each learner’s sense of belonging and inspire even stronger relationships within our high school communities. Learn more about how we are boldly redefining the high school experience through College & Career Pathways.

Portrait of a Graduate