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Our Approach

EdLeader21 focuses on the 4Cs (critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity) for all students and educators by:

  • Providing flexible, customizable resources for system-wide implementation of the 4Cs.
  • Creating innovative assessments and instructional tools focusing on the 4Cs.
  • Using communities of practice to prioritize and refine our collective work.
  • Enabling peer-to-peer learning through face to face meetings, project working groups and professional learning events.

Our 7 Steps framework helps member organizations plan and monitor their progress (click on the numbers to see descriptions of each step):

1. Adopt Your Vision

Develop a list of the knowledge and skillsyour students will need for success in college, career and life in the 21st century. Consider: What are the biggest changes in society in the last 25 years? What are the capabilities your students need to cope with this change? What is your school/district doing to prepare students for these realities?

2. Create a Community Consensus

In this step, we encourage you to start a community conversation around your 21st century education vision (from Step 1). Consider: How you can use your communication and collaboration skills to move your vision forward? How can you build a community consensus around a shared vision for 21st century education?

3. Align Your System

Reflect on whether your entire school or district's strategies are aligned to your new vision. Consider: Are you assessing students on their abilities to think critically, collaborate and communicate? Are your professional development efforts designed to improve instruction in these areas?

4. Build Professional Capacity

In this step, we encourage you to focus on using the 4Cs to enhance professional development in your school or district. Your ability to successfully support your professionals in teaching and assessing the 4C's will be the single key success factor for your 21st century initiative.

5. Focus Your Curriculum and Assessment

Step 5 asks you to focus on the 4Cs in curricula and assessment. Using strategies such as Understanding by Design, 4Cs rubrics, performance and portfolio-based assessments as well as project-based learning assessment are important.

6. Support Your Teachers

Your initiative rests upon your ability to engage and support every teacher in their practice around the 4Cs. Are you allowing teachers enough autonomy for 4Cs lesson planning and instruction? Are you giving teachers feedback, including 21st century evaluations, that will help them improve their 4Cs pedagogy?

7. Improve and Innovate

Finally, we challenge you to support your organization with a continuous improvement mindset. Have you adopted a strategic plan around the 4Cs in your school or district that is improving over time? Have your students, teachers, administrators and support staff adopted continuous improvement practices?

The 4Cs Educational Outcomes