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(New Orleans – October 2, 2023) —NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) is excited to announce the official launch of the Portrait of a Graduate Guidebook, a comprehensive resource aimed at transforming the educational landscape for our scholars and community. This guidebook represents the culmination of extensive efforts to develop and implement the Portrait of a Graduate Initiative.

It provides a valuable tool for schools, families, community members, and partners to navigate the journey toward realizing the vision of a well-rounded education that prepares scholars for success in college, career, and life.

"This guidebook is a vital resource that will help us leverage the Portrait of a Graduate initiative to support student preparedness, create enriching school experiences, foster whole-child development, and build a unified community dedicated to student success," said NOLA-PS Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams.

The Portrait of a Graduate, unanimously adopted by the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) in May, serves as the North Star guiding the district's strategic plan of action. It complements academic achievement and emphasizes the importance of providing a holistic educational experience for every scholar.

Key features of the Portrait of a Graduate Guidebook include:

1. Guiding Practices: The guidebook outlines ten guiding practices that help schools connect the Portrait of a Graduate initiative to their existing programs and initiatives. These practices include promoting the initiative consistently, expanding learning into the community, and establishing partnerships that support college and career readiness.

2. Post-Secondary Readiness Skill: The guidebook also highlights a range of academic, personal, and social skills known as post-secondary readiness skills. These skills prepare scholars for higher education, the workforce, and fulfilling lives.

3. I CAN Statements: Provide clarity on what the Portrait of a Graduate looks like at different grade levels, I CAN statements and family check-and-connect questions are included as companions to help scholars, families, and educators understand and track progress.

4. Points of Pride: The guidebook features the remarkable work taking place throughout NOLA-PS. It showcases initiatives that advance student learning, offer enriching experiences, develop the whole child, connect scholars to real-world opportunities, and support readiness for college, career, and life.

5. Resources and Support: A dedicated section recognizes the contributions of nonprofit organizations, public agencies, employment training programs, and workforce development initiatives that align with the Portrait of a Graduate attributes.

6. Youth Mentoring: The guidebook spotlights organizations and partners dedicated to youth mentoring, reinforcing the skills scholars learn in school and at home.

NOLA-PS would like to encourage community members and organizations to help support the Portrait of a Graduate initiatives in the following five ways:

1. Support or invest in school or charter network initiatives.

2. Co-sponsor Nola Public Schools Portrait of a Graduate events.

3. Elevate the Portrait of a Graduate in organizational work.

4. Celebrate scholars who exemplify the Portrait of a Graduate's attributes.

5. Promote the Portrait of a Graduate on social media platforms.

The launch of the Portrait of a Graduate Guidebook marks a significant step in NOLA-PS' commitment to providing a thriving educational experience that prepares every student for success. By fostering collaboration and emphasizing whole-child development, the district aims to bridge gaps in post-secondary readiness and outcomes for all scholars, especially those from historically underserved backgrounds.

"I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished together in creating the NOLA Public Schools' Portrait of a Graduate. It's a vital thread in the fabric of our work to support our students in being ready to excel in college, career, and life," said Dr. Fateama Fulmore, Deputy Superintendent of Nola Public Schools, who spearheaded the project. "Thank you to our students for using your voices to shape the attributes of our Portrait of a Graduate. To our families, educators, school and CMO leaders, community members, nonprofit organizations, business and city partners, university partners, board members, and NOLA-PS staff, thank you for using your time, expertise, and experience to inform every aspect of the program and guidebook. You are part of our village; we could not have done this without you. Thank you!"

As Nola Public Schools continues to evolve, the Portrait of a Graduate will remain a vital thread in the fabric of the district's strategic plan, focusing on students and their success. Great strides are being made in our schools, and this guidebook serves as a powerful tool to uplift and support these efforts.

For more information and to access the Portrait of a Graduate Guidebook, please click here.


About NOLA Public Schools: NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) is the public school district for Orleans Parish. It includes the district's administration and elected school board, known as the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB). NOLA-PS currently oversees 72 public schools and is led by Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams, the first woman in the District's 181 years to serve as its permanent superintendent.

For more information, visit For updates, follow NOLA Public Schools on Facebook @NOLAPublicSchools, Instagram @nolaps and Twitter @NOLAPSchools. 

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