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Engaging Minds. Building Futures. 

Upper School Blog


The SA Graduate - One of Distinction

July 06, 2023
By Meredith Williams, Upper School Head

The Salisbury Academy Portrait of a Graduate was developed from extensive stakeholder engagement, research around best practices, and guidance of the SA core values and mission. It is a command of the Portrait’s five competencies that will distinguish Salisbury Academy graduates from many others in their journeys forward. 

The Portrait does not identify the skills we expect students to exhibit for admission to Salisbury Academy.  Nor does the Portrait suggest skills we hope students will accidentally discover as they mature in their teenage years.

Rather, the Portrait’s five key competencies are the skills our school is designed to directly nurture and develop in each student. As explained in a recent post, SA’s commitment to and accountability for the development of these competencies is equal to our passion for teaching content knowledge.  

Our families choose an SA education because they too value these competencies and realize their important role in life-long success.

The core competencies in our graduate profile are not just the characteristics we like best. Rather, the competencies are research-based skills that will carry students to the highest level of success in their future endeavors. Here is just a sample of the research that supports each of the five SA graduate competencies:

SA graduates will be motivated students eager and equipped for the challenges ahead.

* A study by University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth indicates that perseverance and passion for long-term goals might be a more effective predictor of success than IQ.

SA graduates will be creative problem solvers who find joy in learning.

* A study by Adobe found that creative skills rank among the top three deciding factors to college admissions decision makers.

* According to another Adobe study, 82% of college-educated professionals say they wish they had had more exposure to creative thinking as students.  

SA graduates will be confident communicators who can lead, collaborate, and express themselves.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities surveyed 400 employers who consistently ranked communication and collaboration skills as most important in their workplaces.

SA graduates will be compassionate citizens and stewards of a global community.

It has been shown that students engaged in community engagement or service learning achieve deeper knowledge of the discipline, problem-solving capacities, critical thinking, and abilities to understand complexity and ambiguity, but also greater personal and social growth.

SA graduates will be resilient individuals who value wellness and balance.

In his book Developing Resilience (2018), Neenan explains that inner resilience is a resource that appears to be both a significant tool for success in the world and the basis of good mental health.