FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 
Contact: Brendan Sheran, Project Facilitator
October 5, 2023                                                                                

Portrait of a Graduate convening will bring together regional partners 

The Barr Foundation’s fall Portrait of a Graduate initiative (PoG) convening will be held at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts in North Adams, MA, October 16-18. The convening is expected to bring more than 90 educators, administrators, and students to the Berkshires to work toward a shared vision for change and better student outcomes as they visit five Berkshire County schools who are incorporating their community portrait.

For the past three years, the Barr Foundation has supported nine New England communities in participating in the Portrait of a Graduate initiative, providing multi-year funding along with many resources and opportunities for networking and professional development. The Berkshire County schools hosting the fall convening are Taconic High School, Pittsfield High School, Drury High School, Hoosac Valley High School, and BART Charter School. These schools have worked collaboratively for the past several years to develop and implement a vision of what high school students should know and be able to do to succeed in college, career, and life. One of the key events will be for visiting districts to participate in site visits at the five host schools. Visiting districts will be Springfield (MA), Lowell (MA), Boston Prep (MA), Margarita Muniz (MA), Franklin (NH), Danbury (CT), and Stratford (CT).

“Since we first began our work at Drury High School with the county-wide Portrait of a Graduate team, we have made many positive changes, including the incorporation of Portrait competencies into every classroom, the implementation of a full school Early College model, the expansion of career readiness opportunities, and the addition of daily Crew and flex blocks to support students,” said Tim Callahan, Assistant Superintendent of North Adams Public Schools and one of four school-based Core Facilitators leading the project. “We hope participants will be able to engage with our students and our teachers and find out how the changes are working and what important lessons we have all learned along the way. Principal Kopala and I have participated in Portrait convening visits in Colorado and Connecticut over the past year and we have been inspired by what we saw. We hope that visitors to Drury become as inspired as we have been.”

“Taconic High School is making the transition to a full Career and Technical Education school, which provides many opportunities for our Portrait to come to life as we make learning real for our students,” said Michael Duffy, an English teacher at Taconic High School who serves as a site leader for the PoG project. “We hope our visitors can see our Portrait competencies in action through observations and an exploration of student work, and we welcome feedback on how we can enhance our cross disciplinary opportunities in this new model as we create rigorous and purposeful learning experiences for our students.”

Participants will be housed at Hotel Downstreet in North Adams and will gather for dinner and networking activities in the evenings at MASS MoCA. During the days they will visit the Berkshire County schools that are participating in PoG. The school site visits will feature a mix of roundtable discussions, group presentations, classroom visits, school tours, and time to reflect on what has been presented. Participants will also have the option to experience fall life in the Berkshires by taking a hike along the Hoosac Range or picking apples at Jaeschke Orchards in Adams.

PoG is a collaborative project of Berkshire Educational Resources K12 (BERK12), a group of local educators, business and nonprofit leaders, school leaders, and community members dedicated to strengthening PK-12 education in Berkshire County. For more information about the Portrait of a Graduate, contact Brendan Sheran, PoG Project Facilitator, For more information about BERK12, contact Jake Eberwein,

For more information on BERK12 please visit the website here.
The Portrait of a Graduate Fall Convening website can be found here.
For more information on The Barr Foundation please visit their website here.

The Portrait of a Graduate work in the Berkshires has focused on integrating six broad competencies into the teaching and learning at our partner high schools. The portrait vision and competencies were developed with extensive community input.