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Portrait of a Graduate

Roycemore’s Portrait of a Graduate identifies the skills and habits of mind that we believe are essential for young people to possess to achieve success in a rapidly changing and complex world.

Portrait of a Graduate

Developed by a diverse cross-section of our community, including faculty, students, alumni, and parents, Roycemore’s Portrait of a Graduate serves as the framework for our approach to the student experience school-wide and informs our curricular and co-curricular programs. 

The three primary tenets of the Portrait are Scholarship, Citizenship and Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Roycemore’s commitment to cultivating EQ equally with Scholarship and Citizenship in our Portrait of a Graduate sets our school apart from many other educational programs.

Scholarship is a key component of Roycemore’s Portrait of a Graduate, as well as one of our School’s core values. Scholarship encompasses intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, self-advocacy, as well as leadership and social influence. Some call these “soft skills;” however, at Roycemore we have come to call them “Power Skills.” They are essential skills that young people need to possess when they leave Roycemore and advance to higher education and careers. Our goal for each Roycemore student is to demonstrate these power skills across all learning experiences, including academic, artistic, athletic, performance, and civic. Below, we offer additional thoughts about scholarship:

  • Foundational Skills: Prior to higher-order thinking, individuals must possess a strong academic foundation, including skills in literacy, numeracy, science, English, technology, and cultural and civic literacy. Roycemore’s educational philosophy which emphasizes the acquisition of pragmatic skills, while embracing progressive approaches to acquiring these skills, meets the needs of all kinds of learners with diverse backgrounds.
  • Communication: The ability to effectively communicate orally, in writing, through technology, and with the application of data is essential to achieving one’s highest potential. Providing many and varied opportunities for students to practice and demonstrate success in their communication endeavors is a key component of the Roycemore experience.
  • Collaboration: A distinguishing characteristic of the most profound innovations of our world today is that they were created through teams who worked together to solve a problem or develop something new. Learning how to work well with others, to be an active listener, to understand one’s own strengths, and how to build teams that complement one’s strengths are skills that will gain in importance as we advance further into the 21st century.
  • Creativity: Creativity is not limited to the art classroom Students learn to try out their own ideas, apply alternative thinking to solve problems and utilize unique approaches to demonstrate and communicate what they have learned.
  • Critical Thinking: Arguably one of the most important skills, critical thinking is hardly new, however, it has gained in importance. The ability to truly think and understand is vital in an environment that is cluttered with information overload. Roycemore students are taught to critically analyze what they read both in modern and historical texts. They study what is happening in the world around them to assess geopolitical movements, and compare and contrast policies to gain an understanding of how decisions are being made. Such approaches allow students to gain new perspectives in hope that they are equipped to play an important role in creating a better future for themselves and our world.
  • Self Advocacy: Roycemore students are encouraged to take charge of their education and to understand their strengths and areas to work on. They learn how to approach their teachers for help, and speak for themselves. Our students gain practice at sharing their thoughts and opinions and gain confidence that will serve them well no matter what field of endeavor they pursue.
  • Leadership & Social Influence: Roycemore students learn that leadership takes many forms. As an intentionally small school, there are many opportunities to lead at Roycemore, whether in leadership by title or leadership by deed. Our students gain an understanding of the power of their voice in offering opinions and direction, in their decisions, and in their actions. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which is used as a leadership framework schoolwide, offers a common language for daily leadership experiences.

In some schools, emphasis on teaching Civics and Citizenship have at times taken a back seat to subjects that can be more easily assessed and “counted” such as math and science.  However, uninformed and unengaged citizens can lead to a society that is dominated by a culture of passive compliance.  At best, this can lead to a citizenry that simply accepts the status quo. At worst, an unengaged citizenry can lead to the rise of dangerous ideologies or dogmas that eat away at the very democracy that our founding fathers fought so hard to create.

As Sir Ken Robinson wrote in his book Creative Schools, “Democratic societies depend on informed citizens being actively involved in how they are run and led.  For that to happen, it’s essential that young people leave school knowing how society works and in particular how the legal, economic, and political systems operate and affect them.” In line with Roycemore’s commitment to teach students how to communicate, collaborate, and think critically, these skills are vital to one’s ability to be an active and informed citizen.  

Our view of citizenship in the Portrait of a Graduate at Roycemore embodies a holistic perspective and aligns with our core values of respect, compassion, integrity, and community to embrace both our Roycemore community and the global community.  Four aspects of citizenship that we have highlighted in our portrait are:

  • Curiosity for Diverse Perspectives: We aim to provide opportunities for students to be exposed to different perspectives and cultural understandings. Students have opportunities to learn from and work collaboratively with individuals representing diverse cultures, religions, and lifestyles in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue. We foster curiosity in students by ensuring different perspectives are included in disciplines across all divisions.
  • Cultural Humility: Students have opportunities throughout their years at Roycemore to learn about other nations and cultures, including the use of non-English languages. Through diverse curricula, discussions with classmates, outside experts, and on-campus and off-campus experiences, students gain an understanding of other cultures and recognize how stereotypes and biases can impact one’s ability to appreciate others.
  • Respect for Multiple Pathways to Understanding: We encourage students to think critically about different ways a problem might be solved through the lens of others’ beliefs and cultures. Students learn that there can be many ways people with diverse perspectives might form their understandings of the world.
  • Globally-Focused Problem Solving: As students progress from Early Childhood to Upper School, they acquire knowledge and understanding of the world around them, gaining global competencies related to humanity and the environment. Leveraging their cultural humility and appreciation for diverse perspectives, students learn that in order to solve the most complex challenges of our world, they must begin with respect for themselves, each other, and the environment. They learn about their relationship with the air, land, food, energy, water, and ecosystems. They understand society’s impact on the world including population growth, population development, and resource consumption. With their knowledge and perspective, students then have opportunities to engage in real-world problems. Using a design-thinking approach to solving them, students are able to recognize their own agency to design innovative new approaches that inspire action for real change.

Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is part three of the trio of key tenets of Roycemore’s Portrait of a Graduate. First popularized by Daniel Goleman, internationally renowned psychologist, and author, emotional intelligence has been identified as an important ability that is critical to reaching the highest levels of success in a variety of occupations.   In fact, it has been suggested that it is twice as important as technical skills. EQ involves social perceptiveness and awareness of one’s own and others’ reactions, being cooperative and pleasant to work with, the ability to connect with others and be sensitive to their needs and feelings, and the ability to regulate one’s own emotions.

With Roycemore’s emphasis on teaching leadership skills to students at all levels through the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, we recognize that a critical leadership skill is the ability to manage one’s emotions and recognize the emotions of others.  Without the intentional cultivation and training of EQ at a young age, our country runs the risk of a future characterized by a lack of diplomacy that could lead to a zero-sum game in which our entire world is worse off.

Our emphasis on EQ aligns with Roycemore’s core values of respect, compassion, integrity, and community. In our thinking about EQ in the Portrait of a Graduate, we have focused on five aspects:

  • Resilience: We create an environment that embraces failure as an important part of the learning process. We create situations for students to learn how to be flexible and adaptable. Students are given opportunities to develop a growth mindset by learning how to give and receive feedback- both positive and negative. Our mindfulness program helps students practice how to calm their minds and refocus, a skill they can draw upon when encountering stressful situations.
  • Independence: Students learn self-advocacy. They get to know themselves as learners with their individual strengths and areas of challenge. They also gain experience in learning how to meet deadlines, fulfill obligations and build confidence from others that they can be relied upon as a friend and classmate.
  • Perseverance: Roycemore students develop the confidence to tackle difficult problems or questions and to stick with it even if the solution is not readily apparent. Perseverance is critical to addressing challenging problems, whether they are one’s own difficulties, or reaching aspirational goals as a community or country. President John F. Kennedy was referring to perseverance when he spoke about the goal to put a man on the moon. As he said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”
  • Interpersonal Skills: Collaboration is encouraged and students learn how to be good team members. They develop critical feedback skills that allow them to disagree with and be critical of one another’s opinions or work and still solve problems together. Students also learn the art of persuasion and negotiation while also being honest and ethical.
  • Empathy: Roycemore’s core value of compassion is grounded in empathy- the ability to feel as others feel. Learning to see things from someone else’s perspective and validate their feelings, even if different from their own, is a skill that can be intentionally cultivated. Additionally, with a diverse student body, students have opportunities daily to hear perspectives from classmates that might be quite different from their own and to value the lived experiences that are informed by diverse cultures, religions, races, and economic backgrounds. Recognizing that EQ is one of the most important people skills that separates average from exceptional performance among individuals, our emphasis on EQ will be embedded in our program throughout the student experience rather than as a separate “character program” or a one-off class. With years of training and preparation in the trifecta of Scholarship, Citizenship, and Emotional Intelligence, Roycemore graduates will be well equipped to step proudly forward into a bright future where they are vital leaders of and contributors to a thriving society.

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