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District defines student skill set to ensure 21st century success

May 28, 2024

The New Hartford Central School District is defining what it means to be a New Hartford student and a lifelong learner. The district developed its Portrait of a Spartan, a collective vision that articulates the district’s and community’s aspirations for every student in the district. It provides strategic direction for the overall educational experience of students and includes a defined set of skills and competencies that students should possess upon graduation in order to achieve success.

Portrait of a Spartan is comprised of six competencies:


Creative, curious, entrepreneurial thinkers who exhibit flexibility and a growth mindset.


Show kindness while understanding and respecting the feelings and perspectives of others.


Articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written, and nonverbal communication skills for authentic purposes.

Critical thinking

Challenge themselves to think differently and identify, evaluate, and prioritize solutions to complex situations.


Take responsibility, honor their commitments, and are accountable for their actions.

Global citizenship

Value and embrace diverse cultures and personally engage in civic, social, and global action.

“Now more than ever, our learning experiences must continue to not only provide for the acquisition of rigorous academic content, but must also be intentional about fostering the 21st century skills our students need to thrive. Our Portrait of a Spartan is locally developed, but globally positioned so students in kindergarten through grade 12 can be successful in a world that is changing faster than ever.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Cosimo Tangorra Jr.

The development process began in October 2023. A Portrait Design Team, consisting of school and district leaders, board members, educators, students, families and community members, attended four collaborative work sessions to identify and define each competency, and discuss implementation.

a group of people standing around a table with papers on it
two people sitting at a table with papers

As next steps, district administrators will create an actionable plan to put Portrait of a Spartan into practice. This will include providing professional learning opportunities for district educators to ensure each competency is attainable for every student through authentic learning experiences.

The administration will evaluate and revise the district’s Portrait of a Spartan implementation plan several times annually to maintain relevancy and alignment with the district’s vision, mission, goals and strategic plan.

school logo surrounded by six shields that represent the six competencies
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