• All definitions are from “Merriam-Webster” unless otherwise stated. (PS: Prospect Studio SF)

    Adult Portrait
    An inspiring description that outlines the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and mindsets every adult in the district needs in order to support each student in reaching the Graduate Portrait. (PS)

    Having or showing a desire to achieve a high level of success.

    Showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks. (“Oxford English Dictionary”)

    Career Technical Education.

    Continuous improvement cycle
    Using data to pause, assess, and reflect, and plan improvement before taking the next step (or cycle). See also Iterate. (PS)

    Core team
    The cross-departmental internal district team that collaborates and helps coordinate and facilitate the vision process to ensure that it reflects the community’s needs and voices. (PS)

    Prevailing tendency, mood, or inclination; the tendency of something to act in a certain manner under given circumstances.

    “Educational equity means that each child receives what they need to develop to their full academic and social potential. Working towards equity in schools involves: Ensuring equally high outcomes for all participants in our educational system; removing the predictability of success or failures that currently correlates with any social or cultural factor; Interrupting inequitable practices, examining biases, and creating inclusive multicultural school environments for adults and children; and Discovering and cultivating the unique gifts, talents and interests that every human possesses.” (The National Equity Project)

    “In education, the term ‘equity’ refers to
    the principle of fairness. While it is often used interchangeably with the related principle of equality, equity encompasses a wide variety of educational models, programs, and strategies that may be considered fair, but not necessarily equal. It has been said that ‘equity is the process; equality is the outcome,’ given that equity—what is fair and just—may not, in the process of educating students, reflect strict equality—what is applied, allocated, or distributed equally. Inequities occur when biased or unfair policies, programs, practices, or situations contribute to a lack of equality in educational performance, results, and outcomes. For example, certain students or groups of students may attend school, graduate, or enroll in postsecondary education at lower rates, or they may perform comparatively poorly on standardized tests due to
    a wide variety of factors, including inherent biases or flaws in test designs.” (The Glossary of Education Reform)

    Foundational academic knowledge
    The core body of knowledge any student needs to graduate high school, typically including math, English, science, literature, history, and geography. It may also include languages, art, and music. (PS)

    Graduate Portrait
    An inspiring description of the community’s aspirations for their young people that outlines the knowledge, skills,dispositions, and mindsets a community believes students need to thrive in life. (PS)

    Guiding Coalition
    The visioning steering committee, made up of parents, students, educators, community leaders, business leaders, and elected officials. Guiding Coalition members are chosen for the diverse communities they represent. They are tasked with contributing ideas, perspectives, expertise, and experience to the design of the district’s long-term vision through a series of events exploring the future of education and the needs of its students, schools, and educators. (PS)

    Horizons exercise
    An exercise that helps groups and individuals think about the current state, the desired future state, and what needs to be nurtured in between. (Adapted by Prospect Studio SF from “Deepening Futures with System Structure,” Hodgson & Sharpe, Wiley, 2007)

    The act or practice of including and accommodating people who have historically been excluded (because of their race, gender, sexuality, or ability).

    “The complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect, especially in the experiences
    of marginalized individuals or groups.”

    “It takes into account people’s overlapping identities and experiences in order to understand the complexity of prejudices they face.” (YW Boston)

    Learning journey
    A virtual and/or in-person curated expedition to experience leading-edge ideas in play, within and outside of a specific field, to learn from others, stimulate fresh ideas, and gain inspiration that will inform the development of an organization’s future vision based on real-world examples. (PS)

    Refers to different types of cognitive processing, including responses to social cues. (PS)

    A composite character created based on research and experience that allows a group to design for specific user needs, while protecting the confidentiality of real stakeholders, thereby allowing more open discussion of sensitive issues, incorporating more diverse perspectives, and offering an additional way to elicit “silent voices.” (PS)

    Descriptions of various possible futures that help us explore the mutual impacts of interesting developments and context without committing to any specific option, thereby enabling the consideration of different options, including hybrid options. (PS)

    In strategic planning, this describes which strategies in the vision will be implemented at any one time. (PS)

    In strategic planning this covers the order in which strategies have to be implemented. Are some dependent on others, for example? (PS)

    Stories from the future
    Creative, fictional character snapshots that help us imagine what might be possible, and maintain focus on a desired future. These are not predictions nor promises.

    Strategic foresight
    [U]ses a range of methodologies, such as scanning the horizon for emerging changes, analyzing megatrends, and developing multiple scenarios, to reveal and discuss useful ideas about the future. Strategic foresight does not attempt to offer definitive answers about what the future will hold. Foresight understands the future as an emerging entity that is only partially visible in the present, not a predetermined destiny that can be fully known in advance (predicted). There are no hard facts about the future, and the evidence base is always incomplete. The objective is not to “get the future right,” but to expand and reframe the range of plausible developments that need to be taken into consideration. (

    Strategic plan
    A three-to-five-year action plan that sets strategic priorities, goals, and progress measures, and that identifies interdependencies and the scope, sequence, and syncopation of priorities, roles, and resources. (PS)

    Strategic vision
    An organization’s guiding idea. It is an aspirational description that expresses the desired future the organization wants to bring about in the world. The vision works as a horizon point for the organization to move toward collectively. (PS)

    Ongoing assessment and monitoring of the connections and interactions between strategies that are being implemented simultaneously so that we can ensure the alignment of implementation actions and “course correct” as needed. (PS)

    System Portrait
    An inspiring description of the core characteristics that will need to exist within a school district. It outlines the conditions that must be created for the Graduate and Adult Portraits to be achieved, and the Core Values to be expressed. (PS)

    Vision 2035
    Santa Clara Unified School District’s 15-year vision for the future of the District. (SCUSD)