About Leadership Portfolios at Common Ground
At Common Ground High School, every student creates an online portfolio that shows their growth as a powerful community and environmental leader. They build and refine this portfolio over their four years of high school, and must defend it before they can earn their high school diploma.
Over time, students develop and revise their own definition of leadership -- rooted in the belief that all students can grow into powerful leaders, and that young people can create positive, sustainable change in a variety of ways. Their portfolio grows into a platform for exploring and sharing who they are; while built on a common Google sites template, students' portfolios come to look very different over time.
Each year, young people add artifacts and reflections related to the experiences where they've most grown as leaders, in and beyond the classroom. Their reflections look very different in 9th grade than they do senior year; one of the most important lessons we continue to learn is that work on the portfolio needs to reflect young people's development, and meet them where they are. The portfolio becomes a container for other important indicators of learning and leadership, as well: their resumes, reflections on career exploration opportunities, and more.
During their senior year, students' engage with their portfolios at a much deeper level. They decide which experiences mean the most to them -- going from at least eight reflections, down to five polished ones that form the core of their portfolio.
The final element that students add to their portfolios is their capstone project. As part of a year-long seminar called Senior Social Justice Experience, students research a social justice issue that matters to them, and then work alone or in small groups to develop a project that helps to address that issue.
Once students' written portfolios are complete, they stand before a panel of staff and an audience of peers, family, and teachers to defend their portfolio.