Magazine of Latin School of Chicago

The Evolution of the Portrait of a Latin Learner

Curious explorers. Inclusive collaborators. Creative communicators. Critical thinkers. These four core competencies make up the pillars of what is called the Portrait of a Latin Learner. The project is a result of a multi-year process that involved teachers, administrators, students, parents and alumni. How did this project develop, what is its significance and how it will it be used in the future?

Every piece of data was examined and became part of the portrait
-Max Rouse

The History

The portrait was identified as a concept in the 2019 Latin Leads Strategic Design. That document laid out the mission, vision, values and strategy in order to create the best conditions for the growth, wellness, and achievement of every Latin learner. The project began pre-pandemic, when a group of Latin teachers began exploring how they could flesh out the strategic plan, according to Ash Hansberry, the Computer Science Department Chair. The project took a back seat during the pandemic but then was revitalized by the former Head of School, Randall Dunn, who asked Hansberry to be the point person and lead the team which would draft the portrait. Hansberry recruited faculty members, Fiona Deeney, Lower School Computer Science and Technology Integration Specialist, Adriana Durant, Upper School Dance, and Kelly Wyatt, Middle School French to join the Portrait team and the group set to work with ideas. 

Data Examined

The Portrait Team wanted their work to be informed by data. Max Rouse, Assistant Middle School Director, and leader of the Learn Team indicated that all constituencies (parents and families, students, alumni, faculty and staff) provided data. For example, parents were surveyed and asked what skills their students were learning that would prepare them for the future. Middle school students were invited to create a billboard indicating what made Latin special to them. “Every piece of data was examined and became part of the portrait,” said Rouse. “We were looking for themes.” Additionally, the team looked at other organizations including data from colleges, other K-12 schools and workplaces to be sure that the portrait compared well with what other organizations expect from young people. 

These themes eventually morphed into the competencies. In early summer of 2022, the Learn Team began drafting a prototype which provided descriptors and examples of ways that students demonstrate the competencies. After numerous drafts, the portrait was presented to teachers and staff in August of 2022.  

Portrait Value and Next Steps

The portrait is meant to be the cornerstone for any type of learning that takes place at Latin. “We are trying to unify the language we use with students,” said Rouse. “The document provides somewhat of a road map of how to construct and refine programming and learning.” Adds Hansberry, “Long term, we want to be able to use this portrait and competencies as a through-line between all of our programs and curriculum.” Additionally, the portrait is meant to be applicable to all age groups, explained Rouse. “Students can be Latin learners anywhere along their experience.” 

The next step involves implementation. Hansberry indicated that certain departments and teachers are experimenting with the portrait already. For example, in the Upper School, the college counseling department analyzed their goals and then created a document that comports with the portrait. Professional development for faculty and staff is planned for the spring. 

...we want to be able to use this portrait and competencies as a through-line between all of our programs and curriculum.
-Ash Hansberry

Given the multi-year development of the portrait, Hansberry points out that the portrait should not be viewed as one-and-done. “Instead, the way I think about it, is that this is an alignment, a reflection and a goal setting process.” Hansberry noted that as implementation occurs, faculty and staff may identify more needs. The portrait team is open to the resulting revisions that may occur.  

Rouse is eager to see how the portrait informs programming in the future. “For new programs, the portrait will help them become mission-aligned,” he said. He envisions that the portrait will help develop programs, and that the language of new programs will be tweaked to conform with the portrait. “It will become part of the process to get new programs off the ground.”

  • Academics
  • Around School
  • Features
The Evolution of the Portrait of a Latin Learner

Curious explorers. Inclusive collaborators. Creative communicators. Critical thinkers. These four core competencies make up the pillars of what is called the Portrait of a Latin Learner. The project is a result of a multi-year process that involved teachers, administrators, students, parents and alumni. How did this project develop, what is its significance and how it will it be used in the future?

Every piece of data was examined and became part of the portrait
-Max Rouse

The History

The portrait was identified as a concept in the 2019 Latin Leads Strategic Design. That document laid out the mission, vision, values and strategy in order to create the best conditions for the growth, wellness, and achievement of every Latin learner. The project began pre-pandemic, when a group of Latin teachers began exploring how they could flesh out the strategic plan, according to Ash Hansberry, the Computer Science Department Chair. The project took a back seat during the pandemic but then was revitalized by the former Head of School, Randall Dunn, who asked Hansberry to be the point person and lead the team which would draft the portrait. Hansberry recruited faculty members, Fiona Deeney, Lower School Computer Science and Technology Integration Specialist, Adriana Durant, Upper School Dance, and Kelly Wyatt, Middle School French to join the Portrait team and the group set to work with ideas. 

Data Examined

The Portrait Team wanted their work to be informed by data. Max Rouse, Assistant Middle School Director, and leader of the Learn Team indicated that all constituencies (parents and families, students, alumni, faculty and staff) provided data. For example, parents were surveyed and asked what skills their students were learning that would prepare them for the future. Middle school students were invited to create a billboard indicating what made Latin special to them. “Every piece of data was examined and became part of the portrait,” said Rouse. “We were looking for themes.” Additionally, the team looked at other organizations including data from colleges, other K-12 schools and workplaces to be sure that the portrait compared well with what other organizations expect from young people. 

These themes eventually morphed into the competencies. In early summer of 2022, the Learn Team began drafting a prototype which provided descriptors and examples of ways that students demonstrate the competencies. After numerous drafts, the portrait was presented to teachers and staff in August of 2022.  

Portrait Value and Next Steps

The portrait is meant to be the cornerstone for any type of learning that takes place at Latin. “We are trying to unify the language we use with students,” said Rouse. “The document provides somewhat of a road map of how to construct and refine programming and learning.” Adds Hansberry, “Long term, we want to be able to use this portrait and competencies as a through-line between all of our programs and curriculum.” Additionally, the portrait is meant to be applicable to all age groups, explained Rouse. “Students can be Latin learners anywhere along their experience.” 

The next step involves implementation. Hansberry indicated that certain departments and teachers are experimenting with the portrait already. For example, in the Upper School, the college counseling department analyzed their goals and then created a document that comports with the portrait. Professional development for faculty and staff is planned for the spring. 

...we want to be able to use this portrait and competencies as a through-line between all of our programs and curriculum.
-Ash Hansberry

Given the multi-year development of the portrait, Hansberry points out that the portrait should not be viewed as one-and-done. “Instead, the way I think about it, is that this is an alignment, a reflection and a goal setting process.” Hansberry noted that as implementation occurs, faculty and staff may identify more needs. The portrait team is open to the resulting revisions that may occur.  

Rouse is eager to see how the portrait informs programming in the future. “For new programs, the portrait will help them become mission-aligned,” he said. He envisions that the portrait will help develop programs, and that the language of new programs will be tweaked to conform with the portrait. “It will become part of the process to get new programs off the ground.”

Explore Our News & Stories

Latin Vegetable Garden

We are excited to announce the start of Latin School of Chicago’s Vegetable Garden located in the Greenwood Garden. The garden is producing nutritious vegetables this summer, which are being harvested and donated to local organizations for those facing food insecurity. This is one way Latin connects with communities in the city and promotes sustainability.

If you are interested in donating your garden-grown vegetables, please email organizer Helen Jeno at hjeno@latinschool.org and drop the veggies off at Latin’s US front desk on Wednesdays during the summer.

Take a look at our photo gallery here.

To learn more about the garden, please read the mission statement below. 

Latin School of Chicago Vegetable Garden Mission
As part of Latin’s mission to integrate our students into Chicago communities and promote sustainability, the Latin School of Chicago Vegetable Garden is dedicated to building enduring relationships with food-insecure communities in Chicago. We are committed to using Latin’s resources to cultivate healthful food and donate it to local organizations serving those in need. Additionally, we strive to foster mutually beneficial partnerships with these organizations to provide students with valuable insights into urban farming and the systemic disparities contributing to food insecurity.

  • Around School
Latin alum Kent Farrington ’99 represents Team USA in 2024 Paris Olympics

A huge congratulations to Latin alum Kent Farrington ’99 on being one of three Americans who will be competing in equestrian events at the 2024 Paris Olympics!

Farrington, who was born and raised in Chicago, started learning how to ride when he was 8 years old.

This is not the first time Farrington has represented Team USA. He was part of the bronze medal-winning team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and finished 31st in the individual competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

  • Alumni

Below is a list of the faculty and staff members who left Latin at the end of the 2023-24 school year. 

We want to thank them for their hard work and dedicated service on behalf of our school and students, and wish them the best in their future endeavors. 

Upper School

John Brown, History Teacher
Justin Clarke, Counselor
John Layer, French Teacher
Stephanie Stephens, History Teacher (Sabbatical Leave)
Faye Wells, Science Teacher

Middle School

Matt Eighmy, Librarian
Cory Graef, Science Teacher
Michael Hurley, Math Specialist and Math Department Chair
Kia London, Spanish Teacher

Lower School

Alyssa Dudzik, First Grade Lead Teacher
Katie King, Second Grade Lead Teacher

LS Assistant Teachers:

Amara Ball
Lauren Beatty
Kat Behling
Ariel Gomez
Melissa Klein
Jasmine Madrid
Lo Miles
Lauren Ming
Genna Newquist
Carlos Ocampo

Staff

Nick Bennett, Athletics Operations Coordinator
Erin Crowley, School Nurse
Chase Mangoni, Assistant Director of Latin 360
Veronica McCoy, Major Gifts Officer
Justine Venegoni, Lead School Nurse
 

  • Around School
Head of School Yearly Round Up

Dear Latin Community, 

The past several days on campus have been filled with ceremonies and celebrations, hugs and handshakes, and memories and milestones. We completed final assessments and projects; honored students, faculty, and staff for their accomplishments in and out of the classroom; and participated in annual events and activities that mark the end of the school year. We witnessed the transformation of our fourth grade students into middle schoolers, our eighth grade students into high schoolers, and our seniors into proud alums, who are poised to begin the next phase of their lives. 

While there is something somber about seeing the empty hallways, quiet cafeterias, and cleaned-out classrooms, the absence of the persistent buzz and infectious energy in our buildings has provided both the time and opportunity to reflect on our successes from this past year. For example, we made significant progress on the goals and initiatives tied to our strategic plan, including the ongoing alignment of our curricular and co-curricular programs. We continued to cultivate a strong sense of community and belonging through our DEI efforts (e.g., professional development, anti-bias training, affinity groups, etc.). We excelled on the courts and playing fields during all three of our athletic seasons, and had equally amazing results in the performing and visual arts. We helped those in need through volunteerism, service projects, and experiential learning opportunities. In addition, we raised a record $1.8 million during Romans Raise & Revel that will provide critical assistance to students who benefit from financial support. 

None of these achievements would have been possible without the tireless dedication of our faculty, staff, and administrators; the unwavering commitment of our Board of Trustees, Senior Advisory Council, Parent Association and Alumni Association; and the steadfast support of our families. For all of this, we thank you.

When I look ahead to the 2024-25 school year, there is much to be excited about. We will begin the next phase of our strategic planning, invest in priorities that are critical to the success of our students (e.g., health and wellness, technology and innovation, and experiential experiences), and continue working toward a more sustainable future for our School. These are topics we will explore in greater detail this fall.

As we depart for what I hope will be a relaxing summer break, there are a couple things I would like to ask each of us to do. The first is to think about the ways we can further strengthen and affirm our shared values of excellence, community, and integrity. While the good from this year far outweighed the bad, there were instances across our divisions where issues and challenges led us away from these values. With this in mind, I want us to reflect on how we can recommit ourselves to the standards and expectations that help define who we are. I also want us to consider how we can preserve and protect the principles that serve as the guideposts for all we do, and keep them at the center of the efforts we are undertaking to shape the future of our School. 

The second is to carve out ample time to rest, recharge, and reconnect. The stresses and strains of the school year take their toll on everyone. Let’s use the next two months to engage in self-care, focus on our overall health and well-being, and spend as much quality time as possible with friends and families. If we can do these things, I truly believe we will be poised and prepared to accomplish anything we set our minds to when we return in August.

Warm regards, 

Thomas Hagerman
Head of School
 

  • Academics
  • Around School