8th Grade Portfolio and Gateway

PFFS 8th Grade Graduation Digital Portfolio

Essential Question:  As a learner, what are your areas of strength, stretches, improvement, and passions as you graduate from the 8th grade?

What is it: Your portfolio represents the hard work and accomplishments achieved at PFFS.  It also is your opportunity for you to reflect on yourself as a learner through our 7 Habits of Heart and Mind. Your work will be kept digitally using the weebly website.   You will be asked to defend your reflection using evidence in the form of artifacts that you have created over your time at PFFS.  This will be done in front of a panel of staff, peers, and family.

Why:  This process will provide you with the opportunity to observe your growth, evaluate your work and reflect upon your PFFS experience – both academically and through the lens of your Habits of Heart and Mind.

Completion of the Portfolio and Gateway is a requirement for promotion to high school.


  1. Reflection on Learning– Thinking about your learning experiences, creating behavior over time graphs and writing about how these shed light on your experience as a learner.
  2. Selection of Evidence– Gathering work/artifacts from classes and experiences.
  3. Presentation of Work– Sharing your portfolio and answering questions before a panel.
  4. Conclusion – Receiving evaluation and feedback from panel; possible revision if not proficient the first time around.


You will be required to write reflective narratives that together should provide a complete picture of you as a learner.  Student work and artifacts can be referred to in these essays as evidence of any of the above.  Each narrative should be at least one page in length (typed, double spaced, Times New Roman).

Your portfolio must include the following reflections:

Required Essays                             Student √       Advisor √                                                                

  • General Reflection                      ☐                     ☐   
  • This I Believe                               ☐                     ☐      

Essays (or Up to Two Alternative Projects) on 6 of the 7 Habits:  

  • Action                                            ☐                     ☐
  • Reflection                                     ☐                     ☐
  • Evidence                                       ☐                     ☐
  • Care                                               ☐                     ☐
  • Inquiry                                          ☐                     ☐
  • Perspective                                   ☐                     ☐
  • Expression                                   ☐                     ☐

Reflective essays should have a thesis statement and should refer to the accompanying “behavior over time graph” and student work for evidential support.  Additionally, students may write about:

  • Are there any patterns on your graph?
  • What does the graph reveal about your use of that habit?
  • Can you correlate events in your with life with data from your graph?
  • A description of areas of strength
  • A description of stretches and specific steps taken to overcome (or how you would do it differently if given the opportunity)
  • A description of where/how you have improved
  • A description of where your passions lie
  • A description of future goals

Note:  You may create up to 2 alternative HOHM reflections (not written essays).  An alternative to a written reflection may be a video, collage, PowerPoint, dramatic interpretation, etc.  However, if you choose to present reflections in more than one alternative medium, each alternative reflection must be in a different medium and must address all of the required components.


The evidence supporting your reflection statements needs to come from a variety of sources.  As such, we are requiring that each reflection refer to at least 2 different examples of student work and that over the 7 different habits, all core classes are represented at least twice.  The following learning experiences may also be referenced:

  • Expeditions
  • Intersessions
  • Electives/Learning Lab/Passion Projects/Afterschool Club
  • Service Learning

Additionally, work from 6th and 7th grade must be referenced (even if you previously went to a different school), and we recommend that a variety of projects/products are incorporated in your thinking.  With all that in mind, it is acceptable for you to use a cross-curricular project in more than one reflection.

General Reflection on your PFFS Experience – You have so many memories of your time at PFFS!  You have suffered, celebrated, laughed, cried, grown, matured, and learned tons!  This is your introductory statement for your portfolio and a chance to try to sum up your experience.

Service Project – During your 8th grade year you are required to complete a minimum of 10 hours on a service project of your own (one that you have created) or a minimum of 20 hours working at existing service projects – both options are to be completed outside of regular school hours.   From that experience, you will author a “This I Believe” essay or podcast.  Your service learning experience will be shared publicly at a separate service learning fair.


You will write your reflections using Google Docs.  You will then transfer your work to your digital portfolio. Your portfolio will be kept presented digitally.  We recommend that you use weebly.com.  We will be working with students to set up their individual sites.

The Gateway

You must present your portfolio to a panel of judges made up of the following people:

  •      Your advisor
  •      A second staff person
  •      A parent(s) and/or guardian(s)
  •      A 6th and 7th grader (you can have other students come, but only two are official)

The Gateway will last approximately 45 minutes and will follow these steps:

Gateway Agenda

  1.  Introduction (5 minutes) Advisor/facilitator will explain the procedure and introduce the panel
  2.  Student Presentation (10 minutes) Student reflects on experience.  This is not a written script.  Students should choose at least three specific examples to highlight their learning.  These should be chosen ahead of time and students should practice what they plan to say to ensure that the presentation is smooth and profession.   Student may refer to specific pieces of work or written reflections, but they should refrain from reading large portions of text.
  3.  Roundtable Dialogue (15 minutes) Panelists and presenter will have a conversation about the work.  Panelists may share warm and cool feedback and ask questions.  Presenter will respond to feedback and questions. Presenters need to demonstrate “expertise” in their learning and be able to respond with confidence and clarity.
  4.  Roundtable Deliberation (5 minutes) After presenter leaves the room, the panel discusses the presentation using the presentation rubric.  All voices should be heard.  Advisor uses the feedback to make final assessment.
  5.  Debriefing (5 minutes) Presenter is invited back to room and feedback is shared.  

Presenter is informed of 3 possibilities:

  •      Presenter has successfully completed the 8th Grade Gateway
  •      There are some concerns about the Gateway and certain revisions will be required
  •      Presenter has not successfully completed the 8th Grade Gateway and a future Gateway will need to be rescheduled


Immediately after the Gateway, you will fill out a reflection sheet about the experience.  You will also write thank you notes for those people who have helped you through the process.  


Good Luck and Have Fun!