Confused About Senior Portfolios? Here’s Everything You Need To Know


Josephine Robinson

“What I love about the portfolios is that there is a lot of creativity involved and the student has a lot of agency to put in their portfolio what matters to them,” Principal Ms. Alanna O’Brien said.

Josephine Robinson, Editor in Chief

Since its introduction to La Salle in 2019, senior portfolios have provided a way for seniors to reflect upon their years in high school and share that journey with others before graduating.  

The senior portfolios are a graduation requirement that asks students to create a Google Site compiling their greatest achievements — both academic and extracurricular — which will be presented to members of the La Salle community by the students. 

“It’s a really good opportunity to reflect on growth and for people to consider where they are headed next,” said librarian Ms. Poteet, who has been in charge of running the portfolios since last year.  

A change to the senior portfolios this year is the requirement for seniors to show how service has been a part of their high school careers. 

“[The senior class] went into the pandemic the spring of their freshman year, and a lot of opportunities were cut off for them because agencies were shut down,” said Principal Alanna O’Brien, who led the effort to implement the portfolios at La Salle.  

In light of this, seniors are asked to include six hours of service from their senior year — starting from July of 2022 —  as a part of their presentation. This service should be for a non-profit organization and focus on helping the poor and marginalized, which could include volunteering for Blanchet House or City Team Ministries. 

Hoping to further the growth of the program, Ms. O’Brien and Ms. Poteet also want to have ninth and tenth graders begin developing their portfolios earlier in their high school careers, rather than having them start their senior year.  

“What I would love to implement down the road is a midpoint check-in, ideally at the end of sophomore year, where students do a mini presentation in a much smaller scale,” Ms. O’Brien said. “[It’s] just to be able to say, ‘this is what I have done over two years, but this is what I want to do over the next two years.’” 

To begin this effort, Ms. Poteet has been presenting about senior portfolios to all grades during various classes, helping students start thinking about what they would like to include. 

“We’ll build the structure in the Google Site, and they can just start putting in assignments and have some time to think about the reflection,” Ms. Poteet said. “And then it will be something students get time to work on every year.” 

Since seniors who attended La Salle last year have already started making their Google Sites, work time will be focused on refining and completing the portfolios.   

Also being introduced to the La Salle community this year is the new graduate profile. 

The graduate profile is a list of all the qualities the school thinks a student should ideally exemplify by the time that they graduate from La Salle. Some of these qualities could be tangible in students’ work, while others might be shown through the presentation itself.

The profile will not only help faculty measure their success in providing the education they hope to give, but also may help students decide what they would like to include in their portfolios.

The profile was created in an effort to further articulate the school’s Lasallian goals. “I felt like there was a need to marry that 300-year-old mission statement with our twenty-first-century context to be able to name not what content we wanted kids to learn, but what skills we wanted them to develop as they leave us and head out to college,” Ms. O’Brien said. 

Ms. O’Brien and a team of teachers and administrators began creating the graduate profile last year. This team worked closely with the La Salle staff, parent groups, and the student leadership team going over the proposed profile and taking in feedback.

Courtesy of Ms. Poteet

The specific requirements of the senior portfolios are that students must include 10 pieces of academic work and create two to three other pages reflecting on service projects, extracurriculars, sports, leadership roles, or whatever the student feels was most important in their high school journey.

“It’s really nice if they can choose things that are from each year because that can help them tell a story about their growth and learning over those years,” Ms. Poteet said. 

The work and experiences students wish to show can be represented through the work itself or through pictures, videos, and art. “It’s really wide open,” Ms. Poteet said. 

Another key part of the senior portfolios is that, with each piece, there should be a two to three-sentence reflection explaining why that work or experience was chosen and how it helped them grow as a student. 

Students are also asked to create a page of gratitude to thank and acknowledge all of the people who have made a big impact on them. 

The senior portfolios are presented during the senior’s last week before graduation. Three seniors will be grouped together for an hour time slot and each individual presentation usually lasts for about 10 to 15 minutes. 

“They get to decide what they want to talk about,” Ms. Poteet said. “And they are basically just giving the audience members a tour of it — what they want to highlight.” 

Each student will present for three members of the community: teachers, administration, or other people involved at La Salle. Although family members have not been a major part of the audience up to this point, Ms. Poteet hopes in the future that students will be able to invite their families to watch more regularly. She also hopes that ninth and tenth graders will have the opportunity to be audience members to get a better idea of how the presentations work.

For class of 2022 graduate Amanda Rivera, the senior portfolios were a life-changing experience and the presentation became her favorite out of all the ones she has ever done. 

“It was definitely something that I would do again, and seeing these faculty members, whether you know them or not, get excited about the work that you produced over the years is something that brings a lot of joy,” Rivera said. 

Although Rivera may have been a little nervous going into the presentation, she described the presentation itself as calming. “It wasn’t anything that anybody needed to be stressed about because it was all about you, and nobody knows you better than yourself, so you can know your strengths,” she said. 

As for advice to students, Rivera emphasized that it helps to get started early and that students should “take a deep breath,” because it is a low-stakes presentation where students get to showcase the things they are most proud of.