Portfolios & Essential Skills


Essential Skills


The New School is a college-preparatory school that trains its students in the traditional academic disciplines (English, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, Mathematics, etc.) and skills essential for success in college and the professional world. These Essential Skills, as we call them, are drawn from our conversations with colleges and are a fundamental component of the school’s pedagogy and culture.


  1.  Act to benefit the community
  2.  Think and act ethically
  3.  Work collaboratively
  4.  Communicate effectively
  5.  Work creatively
  6.  Solve problems
  7.  Persist in achieving quality
  8.  Apply effective research methods
  9.  Manage materials and time to accomplish goals
  10.  Work independently
  11.  Appreciate and understand different perspectives
  12.  Make connections and be aware of context




Portfolios are an integral form of authentic assessment at The New School, and students in grades 4-11 work toward completion of a portfolio that demonstrates their proficiency in the twelve Essential Skills. Each year, students present their portfolios to a committee consisting of their advisor, parents or guardians, and at least one other faculty member. Importantly, students must pass the junior-year review to obtain senior status and begin work on the Senior Exhibition.


Download the Portfolio Guide for in-depth explanations of portfolio requirements. Also available for download are the Portfolio Item Reflection Sheet, Community Service Log Sheet, and Conference Prep Sheet. Please direct portfolio questions to your advisor or the Portfolios Coordinator, Dr. Virginia Palmer-Fuechsel.


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