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Member Practices

Head of School Brett Jacobsen on Integrating the 4Cs

How does your membership in EdLeader21 help you integrate the 4Cs into your organization?

EdLeader21 is a network of passionate, like-minded educational leaders. Although the group is diverse and members may tackle issues differently, we are all working to address the same types of issues related to 21st century learning. The PLC connects schools around the country and provides strength in numbers through networking opportunities.  EdLeader21 provides fantastic resources that leaders can use to build capacity to integrate the 4Cs within their organizations.

Which EdLeader21 resource have you found to be most helpful? Why?

EdLeader21’s 4Cs rubrics provided clarity regarding the competencies that make up each of the 4Cs and helped us improve our ability to integrate the 4Cs into student-driven projects.  We use the 4Cs rubrics to assess student work in more authentic ways.

What is a key strategy on which you are working to strengthen integration of the 4Cs? What impact are you seeing?

We are integrating Design Thinking into authentic projects at Mount Vernon. One mindset on which we have been focusing is how to be “solution seekers”.  A subset of this is formulating meaningful questions, so we strive to create a culture in which students can create powerful questions that open the door for inquiry. When we integrate the 4Cs into meaningful projects based on compelling local and global issues, we see an increase in student curiosity.

What does demonstration of the 4Cs look like in your organization?

Projects framed by powerful student-generated questions provide space for students to demonstrate the 4Cs at Mount Vernon. For example, in a recent project, high school engineering students used a Design Thinking process to answer questions about how to use their 3-D printer to help someone in need. They collaborated to create a prosthetic hand to improve daily life for an 18-year-old college student with a deformity. When the student received the hand, he said, “I think it’s just awesome. See how it moves as I move it? I didn’t think I’d be this happy.” At Mount Vernon, when students demonstrate the 4Cs, this often involves using high levels of creativity and critical thinking to create products that meet a real need.