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Workshop Shows How to Incorporate the 4 C’s in All Future Graduates

Superintendents and their teams learned about integrating the 4 C’s of an effective 21st Century education — critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity – at a pre-conference workshop run by AASA on Wednesday, a day before the start of the association’s national conference.

The workshop, Using a Profile of a Graduate in the 21st Century, was led by EdLeader21, a national network of school and district leaders focused on integrating the 4 C’s into education. They collaborate with Battelle for Kids, a non- profit focused on 21st century learning, to help school district leaders develop their own graduates’ profiles. The tool is known as Profile of a Graduate.

During the workshop, participants learned more about this tool from Ken Kay, the CEO of EdLeader21, Valerie Greenhill, president of EdLeader21, and Karen Garza, CEO of Battelle for Kids. Karen Cheser, superintendent of Fort Thomas, Ky., Independent Schools, joined the presenters and talked to her peers about her experience using the tool in her district.

Kay described the tool as an anchor, saying it’s a way to focus the conversation.

Portrait of a Graduate is a collective vision that articulates each school community’s aspirations for all of its students. For instance, when school leaders successfully incorporate the Portrait of the Graduate, students should be able to use the 21st century skillsets learned in school and apply them in the workforce.

During a question and answer discussion, there was a consensus on how both student voice and community input are essential when using this tool. Cheser noted how every student after graduating should be on a path to have a career of passion, where they have the financial means to support their families.

Information and school district case studies discussed during this session on the Portrait of a Graduate can be found at

(Rebecca Shaw is a reporter for Conference Daily Online.)

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