Close this search box.
Find out how Bakersfield City School District used survey research to create its Portrait of a Graduate.

Bakersfield City School District Uses Data to Drive Portrait of a Graduate

Bakersfield City School District partnered with Hanover research to develop a vision of student success with a Portrait of a Graduate that will inform its long-term strategic direction. 

Bakersfield City School District (BCSD) in California aims to uphold its mission to “educate all students at the highest levels of academic excellence to become collaborative, creative, and critical thinkers.” In 2023, the K8 district partnered with Hanover as it developed its Portrait of a Graduate (POG) a strategic, unified vision of the ideal skills and competencies of all BCSD graduates.  

The Challenge: Gather a Community Vision of Graduate Skills 

Using Hanover’s strategic planning toolkit as a guide, Bakersfield formed an internal committee made up of teachers, administrators, and support staff to begin developing its Portrait of a Graduate. Essential to the process was methodically collecting feedback from all educational partners to identify and agree on the important characteristics, competencies, and skills its students should develop prior to graduation.  

To achieve a unified vision, BCSD would need to build widespread community engagement, starting with large-scale survey research and analysis with over 7,000 families along with sixth–eighth grade students. BCSD leaders sought Hanover’s research expertise to ensure they would not miss any vital insights or community-buy-in opportunities.  


The number of survey respondents included in the analysis after data cleaning


The percentage of parents who believe a college education is important for workforce success, compared to 59% of staff


The number of students enrolled at BCSD

The Solution: Leverage Survey Expertise and Infographics to Reflect Compelling POG

In March 2023, BCSD and Hanover launched a POG survey to obtain feedback and perceptions from middle school students, families, staff, and community members regarding the academic, cognitive, personal, and interpersonal characteristics, attributes, and qualities that district students should develop before graduation.  

The Hanover team developed and launched the customized survey based on the unique goals and concerns of BCSD leadership. Next, they analyzed the data to identify patterns that illustrate a picture of success for the district. To ensure a comprehensive analysis of all collected data, Hanover’s qualitative team analyzed the open-ended survey responses. The findings from the survey and the open-ended responses revealed insights on common themes and recommendations, including: 

  • Respondents agreed students should graduate with robust social-emotional skills related to personal character, leadership, and community service.  
    • Recommendation: The district should create more opportunities for students to connect and collaborate with peers. 
  • Staff and parents emphasized different aspects of college and career readiness. 
    • Recommendation: The district should consistently communicate students’ expectations, core values, and desired outcomes. 
  • Parents and staff agree that students would benefit from practical foundational skills, such as budgeting, nutrition, and technology.  
    • Recommendation: The district should engage families and community members in supporting students’ post-secondary planning through multi-faceted efforts and partnerships.

“I’ve worked with Hanover for nearly seven years, calling on their data expertise and ability to help us build capacity for important projects. Our Portrait of a Graduate needed to include the whole Bakersfield community to live up to its potential. Hanover helped ensure all perspectives had a voice.” 

— Mark Luque, Superintendent 

Learn how to turn data into results with our Transforming Strategic Plans into Results: A K–12 Action Planning Toolkit.

The Outcome: BCSD’s Portrait of a Graduate Sets a Course for a Better Future

Based on the survey findings and conversations with the community, desired skills and qualities for graduates were distilled into six core competencies that form the basis of the POG: 

  • Communicator 
  • Collaborator  
  • Creator  
  • Critical Thinker  
  • Resilient Learner  
  • Problem Solver  

To share the POG with the community, BCSD and Hanover developed a series of communication infographics to represent each of the core competencies. BCSD also created a web page and videos to help the community feel invested in the collective vision. These competencies now serve as guiding principles that district decision-makers can use to align student learning experiences and direct district strategy.  

Moving forward, BCSD leaders will continue to implement changes that align with the POG to ensure graduates leave the district with the right skills for success in high school and their future careers. BCSD continues its strategic partnership with Hanover on a variety of projects and initiatives, including an annual student climate survey and research on staff retention. 

“In 2023, we formed a committee of various stakeholders to engage in meaningful conversations and unify a collective framework to guide our students and district. Hanover’s ability to gather community feedback and reflect the findings back to the community was invaluable to our work.” 

Mark Luque, Superintendent 


Find out how Bakersfield City School District used survey research to create its Portrait of a Graduate.
Bakersfield City School District used survey data to unveil its Portrait of Graduate project, displaying a unified vision of student success.
Find out how Bakersfield City School District used survey research to create its Portrait of a Graduate.

Bakersfield City School District 


Bakersfield, California 


Gather comprehensive community feedback to build a common set of skills and competencies for all graduates

Discover how to unite your district community with our infographic, Engaging Families and Communities in K–12 Education

Hanover helped Bakersfield City School District create a shared vision of student success through:


Qualitative Analysis

Communication Best Practices

Featured Insights

Become a client

Access the best custom research to help hit your organization’s goals. Request your custom consult below and a member of our team will be in touch.

Have questions? Please visit our contact page.

Let us come to you!

Receive industry insights directly in your inbox

Our newsletters are packed with helpful tips, industry guides, best practices, case studies, and more. Enter your email address below to opt in: