Portrait of a Graduate

How to read a student’s HS transcript

Preparing students for their future

The Portrait of a Graduate is a compilation of information from a variety of sources: community focus groups, parent meetings, Site Council, staff meetings, and individual interviews. Its purpose is to give our schools direction and to set priorities.

1. College Ready
2. Employable
3. Effective Communicator
4. Culturally Competent
5. Team Member
6. Good Citizen
7. Information Literate
8. Problem Solver
9. Healthy

1. College Ready

The small schools at North Eugene must provide a program for all students to ensure that college is an option. We understand and appreciate that not every student will go to college and that many jobs do not require a college degree. However, every graduate must have the necessary course work and experiences to be ready for college if they so choose.

Because different colleges have different entrance requirements, our target will be the current University of Oregon entrance requirements.

“Students need to be aware of opportunities to continue learning beyond high school and be prepared to succeed.”
— Community Member

“It is important to go to college. Hey, you can make more money and do more of what you want to do.”
— Student

“They should be able to see and access the array of next steps.”
— Parent

2. Employable

Our Community tells us that many of our graduates do not have what it takes to seek, attain, and hold onto good jobs. We must provide training and practice in the skills and attitudes that are expected in the world of work. Also, every graduate must have structured experiences in job placements where the school and the business community help foster these skills and attributes.

North Eugene, the Eugene School District, and the State Department of Education have established Career-Related Learning Skills that specifically articulate a set of standards for employability.

Employment Foundations
• Apply knowledge and skills in a career context.

• Utilize tools and technologies appropriate for the workplace.

• Identify parts of organizations and how they fit together.

• Describe how work moves through a system.

• Describe the changing nature of work, workplaces, and work processes on individuals, organizations, and systems.

• Demonstrate dress appropriate for the work environment.

• Explain and follow health and safety practices.

Career Development
• Assess personal characteristics related to goals.

• Research and analyze career and educational information.

• Develop a plan designed to achieve.

• Monitor and evaluate educational and career goals.

• Demonstrate job-seeking skills.

“Students all should know what it is really like out there.”
— Business Owner

“In today’s economy, educators are being told that the knowledge and skills required for admission to colleges are the same as employers identify as necessary for employment and success in the work world.”
— Counselor

“They should be able to talk to an adult…. Make themselves heard and show initiative.”
— Parent

3. Effective Communicator

Communication has been identified by a majority of our community members and staff as being the single most important skill our graduates need to possess. In particular, professors and employers note the importance of professional writing skills. All graduates should have the writing and speaking skills, honed by real practice in front of real audiences, to powerfully express his or her ideas.

Oregon State standards articulate writing and speaking standards for all students. To achieve a Certificate of Initial Mastery, students must meet performance standards in these areas.


Writing Curriculum Goals

• Communicate supported ideas across the subject areas, including relevant examples, facts, anecdotes, and details appropriate to audience and purpose that engage reader interest.

• Organize information in clear sequence, making connections and transitions among ideas, sentences, and paragraphs.

• Use precise words and fluent sentence structures that support meaning.


• Locate, process, and convey information using traditional and technological tools.

• Listen attentively and summarize key elements of verbal and nonverbal communication.

• Give and receive feedback in a positive manner.

• Read technical/instructional materials for information and apply to specific tasks.

• Write instructions, technical reports, and business communications clearly and accurately.

• Speak clearly, accurately, and in a manner appropriate for the intended audience when giving oral instructions, technical reports, and business communications.

“Students need the ability to communicate with people they don’t know and approach new situations with confidence.”
— Parent

“Most recent high school graduates cannot write a proposal, a memo or even a coherent email.”
— Employer

“Students need to care about what they are saying and how they are saying it.”
— Community Member

4. Culturally Competent

It is clear that our community believes our graduates must understand our complex world and its diverse peoples, be able to work with people who are different than themselves, and speak a second language. Graduates must have opportunities to interact with people different than they are and demonstrate the ability to understand and relate.

“To make the decisions of the future, they must have a global awareness.”
— Parent

“Graduates should leave more open to new ideas and adventures.”
— Parent“

Every student should understand and participate in their own culture and heritage and develop an appreciation and interest in the cultures of others.”
— Community Member

5. Team Member

In conventional school classrooms students learn, solve problems, and are tested based on their performance as an individual. However, in the real world, we act as part of a team, whether it be a couple, a family, an athletic team, co-workers, a club, a church group, etc. A graduate of North must have the skills to be an effective team member. They must be assessed for “group-sufficiency” as well as self-sufficiency.

“Teams teach responsibility for your actions and responsibility to others.”
— Community Member

“Students should learn and practice skills to improve team effectiveness (e.g. negotiation, consensus building, goal-setting and conflict management).”
— Staff Member

“They need to understand how a team can manage a project so that it comes together from start to finish.”
— Community Member

6. Good Citizen

A good citizen understands and participates in government and gives back to the community. State and national standards enumerate what it is that students should know. In addition, they should demonstrate their learning in these areas through community activities or projects.

“They should become passionately committed to something and study that.”
— Community Member

“How can we let students graduate without knowing how their government works.”
— Staff Member

“Graduates need a strong sense of civic duty and community responsibility.”
— Parent

7. Information Literate

Understanding computer technology is complex, but it is an absolutely crucial skill. All students must learn a standard set of software applications (word processing, spread sheets, browsers, email, etc.) and they must learn how to apply them in other classes and projects. In addition, whether it be from the internet, a magazine, a textbook or a book, students need to be able to read and interpret new information at a level that is constantly increasing.

“They need to learn how to research, use data, gather information, ask questions and find answers…or find that the knowledge already exists and apply it.”
— Community Member

“Everyone needs to be taught the basics. For example, some graduates don’t know how to create and use folders to manage their files.”
— Parent

“You have to have everybody share in the knowledge.”
— Linus Torvalds

8. Problem Solver

Critical thinking and problem solving were highlighted by every group interviewed. Problem solving is a general skill that must be taught in math, science, art, and other classes. Graduates must have had the opportunity to solve complex or real-life problems and to apply their academic understandings to the real world.

“Art encourages creative problem solving.”
— Parent

“To solve the problems of the future, graduates need to be critical thinkers who are well organized and articulate.”
— Staff Member

“Students should learn how to develop goals and objectives and then modify them as they progress.”
— Community Member

9. Healthy

Health includes physical and mental well-being. Students should be taught skills and attitudes that promote fitness for a lifetime. In addition, they must learn about themselves as people, their goals, drives, and personality. For the most part, health is a function of a student’s self-management and social behavior.

“They need to have a holistic education that helps them escape from the addictions of modern life.”


Fulfilling our mission

We have structured North Eugene into small schools to better fulfill our mission as a school: To provide the best education to prepare our students for their future.

This change resulted in smaller schools, but the more important goal is better schools for every student.

This means eliminating achievement gaps and creating truly democratic schools.

Our community, our state, our nation, our economy, and our world demand the best prepared high school graduates.

This Portrait of a Graduate is our best thinking about the exit outcomes we need to set as standards for every Highlander who walks across the stage and accepts a diploma from North Eugene High School.

Portrait of a Graduate was produced with support from the Oregon Small Schools Initiative, The Meyer Memorial Trust, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The information provided for this document came from committed community members, many of whom graduated from North Eugene High School, employ North graduates, or are parents of past, present and future North students. Thanks to all the community and staff who contributed to this document.

This document is meant both to tell a community story and to be a target document for the development of small schools at North Eugene High School.

For each aspect of the Portrait of a Graduate, the reader should assume that, even if they are not explicitly stated, there are standards that specify curriculum guidelines.

“Our mandate is to prepare our students for life beyond school. We want them primed for success in higher education, which will lead them to greater personal success and prosperity… and that means challenging them and nurturing them academically. But we also want them to be capable and productive members of our community.”
—George Russell, Superintendent, Eugene Public Schools

“In today’s world, all students must have a rigorous, meaningful high school experience that prepares them to be successful in whatever post-secondary school, training, or job experience they chose to pursue. As I talk with students, as well as reflect on my own daughter’s experience, it is clear that developing relationships with teachers who believe in and have high expectations for students is vital to that outcome. While not impossible, these kinds of relationships are difficult to form in large traditional high schools.”
—Beth Gerot, Chair, Eugene School Board