Portfolios & Essential Skills


Essential Skill Categories


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 skill categories, as we call them, are drawn from our conversations with colleges and are a fundamental component of the school’s pedagogy and culture.


Inward Looking Skill Categories

Self Awareness & Management

Problem Solving

Critical Thinking & Analysis


Outward Looking Skill Categories

Information Literacy

Communicating Meaning

Social & Global Responsibility




Portfolios are an integral form of authentic assessment at The New School, and students in grades 6-11 work toward completion of a portfolio that demonstrates their proficiency in the six Essential Skill Categories. 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.


For more information, download the Portfolio Process overview. The Community Service Log Sheet is also helpful to keep track of community service hours (at least 60 are required by the end of the junior year). Please direct portfolio questions to your advisor or the Portfolios Coordinator, Dr. Virginia Palmer-Fuechsel.

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