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Portrait of a Learner: A Collaborative Process

During the 2018-19 school year, our Teaching and Learning SIAC engaged in a collaborative inquiry process to develop our Norwalk CSD Portrait of a Learner.  The collective questions we sought to answer together were:

  • What are the hopes, dreams and aspirations our community has for our young people?
  • What are the skills and habits of mind that our children need for success in this rapidly changing world?
  • What are the implications for the learning experiences we provide in our classrooms?

And ultimately…

What should it take for your graduate to walk across the stage and earn a handshake at graduation?

From this collaborative process, our SIAC was able to develop a new core mission statement that drives our work as a system.

Mission Statement: Growing Learners and Leaders

In addition to this new mission statement, our SIAC defined five core attributes of learners and leaders in our system:

Norwalk Learners and Leaders are:


  • Demonstrates self-efficacy
  • Demonstrates a growth mindset
  • Recognizes strengths and areas of growth
  • Engages in metacognition and reflection


  • Proactively sets goals and self-monitors progress
  • Takes purposeful initiative
  • Demonstrates enthusiasm, grit and persistence
  • Cultivates leadership opportunities for self and others


  • Embraces curiosity and inquiry
  • Engages in critical thinking
  • Identifies and solves problems
  • Uses creative and flexible thinking


  • Demonstrates empathy and respect for others
  • Appreciates diversity
  • Develops equity consciousness
  • Listens and communicates effectively


  • Engages with the community
  • Understands civic responsibilities
  • Builds healthy relationships
  • Participates in teamwork and collaboration